MySpace ‘Mashup’ alliance with Facebook was necessary

19 Nov 2010

In some quarters it is being viewed as a “hell freezes over” moment, but the decision by the Rupert Murdoch-owned MySpace to enter into a “Mashup” joint venture with Facebook is a pragmatic step.

Last night, MySpace announced Mashup with Facebook, a new feature that allows MySpace users to easily create a personalised stream of entertainment content. With a simple, one-click setup, the likes and interests of a user’s Facebook profile are ported over to MySpace.

MySpace will also soon be implementing the Facebook Like button across the site to give users an easy way to share their entertainment interests with their friends on Facebook.

In some quarters this has been described as a surrender on MySpace’s part. I consider it a life-saving gesture that people who know and love MySpace will be grateful for.

You see, while each social networking site can build up entire nations’ worth of followers, no social network is an island. People aren’t crazy about hopping from one place to the next and with the internet becoming busier all the time, they’d like to stay organised.

They know this, that’s why Apple has been vocal about “onerous terms” when explaining why it and Facebook have yet to form an alliance. Last week, Apple and Twitter created a music mega-alliance and I think its only a matter of time before Facebook and Apple come to terms.

The fact that Twitter and Facebook have yet to form any meaningful linkup has been described by Twitter co-founder Evan Williams as inevitable but too complex to accomplish right now. It’s only a matter of time.

It was also a necessary move. Facebook’s fortunes are rising all the time and it’s social graph will one day mimic the web and life at large. MySpace is really focused on entertainment and music, so it’s niche, but it’s advertising revenue is expected to decline this year to US$290m, according to eMarketer.

What is Mashup?

With Mashup, users also have the ability to program their own streams based on recommendations and trending topics bubbling up on MySpace, while also engaging with other fans that share the same interests and passions in music, celebrities, TV and movies.

“We are thrilled to further our collaboration with Facebook through Mashup with Facebook,” said Mike Jones, CEO of MySpace.

“This new feature is a great illustration of our strategy around social entertainment and enabling the real-time stream. The stream is one of our most popular features on MySpace, and it is now delivering an even richer entertainment experience of relevant content for our users to enjoy.

“I’m particularly excited because so many people will be able to have the immediate satisfaction of enjoying their own entertainment program that they have customised themselves, as well as connecting to all their passions and to the MySpace community at large.”

Mashup with Facebook is an opt-in feature that is quick and easy to set up. Users can visit and click on the Mashup with Facebook button to begin. In just a few simple steps, a basic MySpace profile is created and users can immediately begin building their personal profile based on information they’ve listed in their Facebook profile.

Built into the feature are robust algorithms that help enable the discovery, expression and connection to entertainment content for a user to customise his or her MySpace profile. Specifically, Facebook “likes” and “interests” are matched to relevant MySpace topic pages, profiles, video programming and other content in entertainment categories, such as music, celebrities, TV and movies.

“Sharing entertainment and music interests is part of many of our friendships, online and off,” said Dan Rose, VP of Partnerships and Platform Marketing, Facebook.

“MySpace is giving people an easy way to bring their favourite bands, celebrities and movies from Facebook to create a personalised experience on MySpace from the start,” Rose said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years