I often make posts about music on social networking services and I was looking for a service I could use to keep all my music posts together and give me some flexibiility to cross-post to more public generic streams on the likes of twitter and facebook when I wanted to. After a while of not properly using it, MySpace, which came from a background of allowing people to connect with bands, seemed like an obvious choice especially since I knew they'd done some work on revamping the site recently including the links with Facebook Connect.
The other reason why I was keen to restart using MySpace is that instead of 'friending' many artists' accounts on facebook, where I'm quite strict on accepting friends, doing it on a different systems makes more sense from a privacy perspective (As an aside, I always thought it would be quite cool if they'd tie up with We7 to encourage use of the free streaming music service) The plan was that I could keep MySpace for musical connections, and choose on each update where to cross-post it to others services. But maybe as someone subsequently suggested to me, ping.fm would be a better idea. This conclusion is simply because frankly, MySpace customer service is appalling, which may well be part of the reason why they're currently hemorrhaging users.
Any social networking company in this day and age who makes feedback channels available needs to respond when users use those mechanisms to contact them. I contacted their support about a couple of issues and got completely automated responses. There seems to be a few standard ones they send out, but when you start getting the same response after following up you know they're not going to actually talk to you. I won't post them all here but one is a set of instructions on how to clear cookies, one is "We apologize for any inconvenience that might have been caused. The issue you wrote us about might be a temporary bug. We’ll check it out now. Just so you know, many site errors resolve quickly, but some can take a day or longer. So be sure to clear your cache/cookies and revisit the page later." If you've contacted MySpace support in the past you'll probably recognise these messages.
So I made reference to my lack of a real response to my support requests on twitter, and there started a conversation which initially gave me some optimism but ultimately confirmed the problems I have already described - here is how my twitter dialog with MySpace and some other users went ...
- sxa555: Concluded that @MySpace techsupport are f'ing useless after 2 generic responses that don't address my issue.Do they not want users any more?
- sxa555: Although in fairness that's two reponses more from @myspace than I got when I tried to raise an issue with #FaceBook ...
- Myspace: @sxa555 - you can reach out to @AskMyspace for help with your account.
- sxa555: @Myspace Thanks!
- AskMyspace: @sxa555 What seems to be the issue? ^Gen
- sxa555: @AskMyspace 1.Cross posting to twitter seemed to use shortener URL when >132 characters for some reason (why not 140) but seems to be ok now
- sxa555: @AskMyspace 2.When cross-posting to facebook can you make it display e.g. youtube videos inline instead of just a link.ms hyperlink?
- ... at this point there was no response for a week after which I tried again - I also responded to some other people who appeared to be having similar problems with MySpace twitter support. Another user also started asking me questions after not getting a good response from twitter directly ...
- sxa555: @askmyspace After asking for problem details you haven't got back to me ref embedding youtube vids when cross-posting from My___ to facebook
- sxa555: @AskMyspace When x-posting can u make it display videos inline instead of a link.ms hyperlink? Inline links work for 'friend accepted' posts
- sxa555: @Kyliving @shaynetarling @rinmem10 MySpace support just gave generic answers.I ranted on twitter and @MySpace suggest I contact @AskMyspace
- sxa555: @Kyliving @shaynetarling @rinmem10 I've prodded @AskMyspace again after a week but seem to want to lose users. Shame really but own fault
- Kyliving: @sxa555 @shaynetarling @rinmem10 @AskMyspace They have no problem expanding the site w/ ads & promotions, but offer little customer support
- sxa555: @Kyliving To be fair, Facebook wasn't any better at responding when I contacted them, but they didn't point me at a useless twitter feed...
- Kyliving@sxa555 Instead of corresponding with you several times & then providing a useless, generic answer, I would rather they ignore me completely
@Kyliving What really annoys me is that I ranted on twitter about their support, so they told me to contact @AskMySpace who ignored me. Poor
- bgffl6969: @sxa555 @AskMyspace Really I am SOOO VERY new to thei tweet thing and need help.. how the hell do I send out my question to AskMySpace??????
@bgffl6969 Just start your message with @AskMyspace although if it's anything like my experience you won't get a reply :-(
- bgffl6969: @sxa555 Well maybe you can help me then... I crashed my old computer.. got a new one.. and all I want to do is download my pictures from (c)
- sxa555: @bgffl6969 No clue - I've never stored pictures on there. I hardly use MySpace to be honest
- AskMyspace: @sxa555 Apologies for the delay- I'm trying to test if this is by design or a glitch. Can you specify the steps you've taken? ^Gen
- sxa555: @AskMyspace It's a simple status update with a youtube link that shows it. See http://twitpic.com/4cl2tx for the results
- sxa555: @AskMyspace Also despite "Update status from FB" unchecked its still pulling updates including posts from MySpace which therefore show twice
- sxa555: @AskMyspace In face the 'Porcelain' post on the 'MySpace' side of my image is one that's been pulled back that originated from MySpace ...
- AskMyspace: @sxa555 Stewart, whats your Myspace URL? ^Gen
- sxa555: @AskMyspace www.myspace.com/sxa
- sxa555: As a social media company they need to respond properly to bugs/issues RT @BBCTech: @AskMySpace loses millions of users http://bbc.in/eL0Dew
- sxa555: @Kyliving @shaynetarling @rinmem10 @AskMyspace Its probably why @AskMyspace is losing cash+users . I have seen worse tho
If anyone from MySpace is reading this and you want to verify the original support request, the incident number is 110310-002686.
So if anyone actually thinks that taking over MySpace despite expected $165M losses in 2011 (bidding is happening now) is a good idea, bear in mind how much mindshare problems you'll have to overcome as a result of the damage from NewsCorp appearing to be trying to throw away users who are taking the time to try to help highlight issues instead of just defecting.
(If you need a short link to this article use http://goo.gl/0UMA7 )
(EDIT 29 Jun 2011: TechCrunch are reporting that MySpace has sold for a rumoured $35M)