I met MySpace’s CTO, Aber Whitcomb, last night at the posh and packed MySpace party here at Mix06 and I asked him how MySpace got so popular. He cited a few things:
1) They made sure influentials in Hollywood (stars, bands) were among the first users.
2) They listen to their users and add features frequently (usually noticeable new features every week).
3) They let the users tell them what to do. He mentioned that other services, like Friendster, tried to tell their users what not to do.
4) When MySpace visitors first log on they already had a friend: the founder Tom. That was in contrast to other services where you had to work to find your first friend. His page also gave you a template to get started.
These things mirror what Danah Boyd noticed in her essay: Is MySpace just a fad? She says that we need to pay attention to MySpace because moral outrage against MySpace will hurt all of us. I totally agree. More reactions to Danah’s post are on Memeorandum.