Does Yahoo Aspire To Be MySpace?


Hang out with friends, listen to new music, talk about what’s important to you, share pictures from a party, MySpace has become the teen place and now has 47.3 million users.

David Utter writes: Few things make marketing types go weaker in the knees than a place full of young adults, millions of them just waiting to see the rush of advertising that marketers want to deliver in as many ways as possible. USA Today profiled MySpace, and in its story one can’t help but see how Yahoo may be trying to catch that lightning in a bottle.

Yahoo has been making a series of purchases, all of which focus heavily on the so-called “social networking” scene. Photo sharing site Flickr, community events calendar Upcoming.org, bookmarking site del.icio.us, and most recently media playlist community Webjay all take their marching orders from Yahoo’s Sunnyvale headquarters now.

MySpace has rocketed in membership since its inception in January 2004. Research firm Intelliseek places that number at 47.3 million, the report said, and cited an Intelliseek rep as being “flabbergasted” by the numbers.

It’s looking more and more like News Corp got a bargain with its $580 million purchase of MySpace parent Intermix in 2005. The company’s former CEO thought that offer was too low and attempted to make a higher offer but was rebuffed.

Yahoo has its 360 service, a site where users can set up a page about themselves, just as they do in MySpace. The company has been making investments and improvements in its music search and services, too.

But Yahoo, which has been around from the earlier days of the World Wide Web, may be seen as too old by the MySpace audience, too obvious in its attempt to grab more eyeballs for its ubiquitous advertising.

For all of its acquisitions, Yahoo hasn’t demonstrated how all of those shiny new toys M&A picked up for them will work together. Even if they do form a cohesive strategy, the simplicity of MySpace, plus its vaunted coolness as a place to break new music, may be too potent for Yahoo to beat.