MySpace Cedes Social Network to Facebook in Mashup

Mashup with Facebook allows MySpace users to populate their MySpace Web pages with likes and interests of a user's Facebook profile. Will it help MySpace return to relevance?

News Analysis: When MySpace and Facebook unveiled their deal to pull Facebook profile content into MySpace, it was hard for the media to suppress a collective sardonic grin.

What MySpace is doing with Mashup with Facebook is allowing the few million or so users who haven't dropped it for Facebook to populate their MySpace Web pages with likes and interests of a user's Facebook profile.

This is quite the access point to provide to a company that three years ago dwarfed it in traffic and users. That's the equivalent of the white flag, no?

Forrester Research analyst Augie Ray said MySpace waved the white flag years ago when Facebook powered its way past MySpace and the old incumbent took no action to reverse the trend.

"Last month's announcement of a new vision for MySpace was the concession speech," Ray told eWEEK.

"[The] joint announcement was the political equivalent of Obama naming Clinton as his Secretary of State," said Ray, enjoying his political analogy. "MySpace has long since stopped being a serious competitor to Facebook, and now MySpace is relying on Facebook to succeed in its second coming."

OK, so maybe MySpace, which has seen executives come and go almost as much as Yahoo in the last three years, is well past the point of flag-waving.

What it's doing then is riding Facebook's coattails, hopefully to grab from crumbs from Facebook's social network banquet table as a "social entertainment destination for Gen Y." MySpace has become an entertainment portal extension to Facebook.

MySpace, sadly, has become the digital equivalent of a neighborhood youth hall just a few short years after MySpace co-founder Chris DeWolfe appeared on stage at the Web 2.0 Summit with News Corp. media mogul Rupert Murdoch.

Mashup with Facebook hooks users into Facebook via Facebook Connect, allowing users to spruce up their existing profile based on information they've listed in their Facebook profile.

Facebook "likes" and "interests" are matched to relevant MySpace topic pages, profiles, video programming and other entertainment content.

In time, MySpace will use the Facebook Like button across the site "to give users an easy way to share their entertainment interests with their friends on Facebook."

Forrester's Ray said MySpace seems to get more out of this partnership than Facebook because Facebook Likes can help create an instantaneously personalized experience, making it much more likely users will stick around and return.

"As for Facebook, this doesn't seem to provide any new revenue opportunities; instead, it allows Facebook to make the point that your data is, in fact, your data-you can use it any way you want, including making your MySpace experience better," Ray added.

Ray brings up a good point. Facebook's reticence to let users export their contact info to Google Gmail has been a sore spot of bad PR for the company this month.

It didn't get any better when Twitter CEO Evan Williams admitted to being frustrated that Facebook wouldn't allow Twitter to integrate fully with the social network.

Still, others will be scratching their heads over Mashup with Facebook. Could partnering with MySpace, long ago left for dead, be damaging to Facebook's credibility?

Why give a rival attention it otherwise wouldn't garner?