So unless you don’t use tech.memeorandum (duh!) then you must have seen all of these posts about a “MySpace Killer” currently being baked by AOL.
Ted Leonsis (Vice Chairman AOL and President of AOL’s audience-based businesses) has hit back, criticising the christening of their product as a “MySpace Killer”.
In fact, am I the only person who’s getting a bit cynical about the amount of product leaks that are going on at the moment whereby:
- Notable company leaks yet-to-be-announced product details to notable bloggers/TechCrunch/Dave Winer/etc
- Said bloggers then mention product features to clearly “test the water” for notable company. Or they out-right puff the ‘exclusive’ – “it’s a MySpace/MSN/Google Killer man”, etc
- Notable company then denies their product is a ‘killer’ (they are a fluffy, friendly company really!). Or can reverse on feature sets because it never came from them directly, yadda yadda yadda…
- Back-handers passed round??? (Ok, this last point is pure conjecture on my part)
This is why you don’t get pre-launch ‘exclusives’ from me. Not even on BBC stuff. And I don’t go telling my friends to start the rumour mill about new stuff I’m involved with before it launches. Mind you, wait until next Wednesday for something cool. No wait!
I should point out that whilst I share the generally common view of Dave W, I actually quite like Marc really. He’s big enough to take some schtick from me.
Back to the story, Ted Leonsis did say the following about AOL’s MySpace not-quite-killer:
The AIM Buddy List (which was introduced 10 years ago) was the original social network, and it has 43 million AIM and Buddy List users. We’re working on adding functionality to AIM that will really open it up — allowing developers, partners, and users to take part. It’s going to be fun.
Mike A from TechCrunch has
been given a new leak sorry, “done some digging around“:
From what I am hearing (and which isn’t contradicted by Ted above), AOL plans on building a social network on the back of AIM, which will pre-populate your AIM friends as your social network friends as well. So the key AIM integration will be to pre-build relationships into the new service.
Well, I have to say that is the way to do it. FOAF (Friend of a Friend) Data (ie Social Network data) is all around us – especially on our IM’s. Considering the critical mass needed to start a social network proposition, it’s almost ridiculous to start without tapping into existing FOAF data.
In fact Tim O’Reilly has been a big supporter of this idea, yet when O’Reilly launched their own social network, it failed to utilise any of this existing opportunity. 🙁
What does this mean for MySpace?
I actually think this is great news for MySpace. One thing I’ve learnt over the years is that you need competition – it’s very easy to become complacent when you’re the top-dog because there’s no one else keeping you on your toes. Man, I see that from a few people at the BBC, fortunately it’s not widespread.
Going back to Ted’s original quote, I think it’s important to think about the “allowing developers, partners, and users to take part” line, especially when you look at the order he rattled them out.
Developers FIRST! Yay!
Seriously, it’s perhaps the strongest argument yet why MySpace need to release a public API. Yes, even stronger then Marc Canter heckling them at Mix06 last month!