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Quote of the Year and a Devil's Advocate

From yesterday's Journal, on MySpace:

"We're not as impressed by, like, huge numbers of 'friends' because that can be gamed very easily," says Adam Farrell, head of online marketing for Matador Records, referring to computer programs that can visit a site repeatedly to artificially boost the tally.

I'll take it step further -- the band featured in the article has 124,000+ "friends", yet on their recent tour the maximum turnout was 200. Now these are 2 college-aged kids that each made $35,000 this year, but even with fans that "love" their music (yet they revealed on their tour that they sold more t-shirts than CDs) they're basically clearing entry-level job pay. Without insurance.

Gaining that many friends via MySpace and planning a tour is extremely time consuming. So they're working 80 hour weeks for $35k. Wow.

I'm not saying it's not wise for certain brands to jump into the MySpace social networking arena. In fact, I'm all for companies jumping in to their pool of consumers head-first. Saturn was on track with how things should be done back in the day. Reward your fans by giving them insider, exclusive access. Make them a part of the company.

When I asked a MySpace rep "Can you send me case studies of what success looks like on MySpace?", his response was to send me 2 links to profiles that had a lot of "friends". Disappointing, to say the least (see: Matador records quote above).

MySpace offers the opportunity for brands to connect with its fans but it's clearly not the end-all.

Side note: Google extends their genius by striking a deal with NewsCorp to be the exclusive text ad provider for their web properties, including IGN and MySpace. Why is this genius? Well, clearly Fox has market cornered on the ever-coveted 14-35 year old demographic, and Google just guaranteed that as long as NewsCorp does it job they'll be there, serving up delicious text ads. Brilliant.

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