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In 2011, Justin Timberlake and Specific Media bought the dying music social network MySpace away from News Corp. for just $35 million. I say just $35 million because News Corp. originally invested $580 million to the music site a few years prior to that when the site was still very popular.
Justin started to hype up the new MySpace redesign this past September, but today was the official launch of the full redesign for all users, and it helps that it's also the same week Justin is promoting his new single "Suit and Tie" with rap artist Jay-Z.
The sign-in page features the new single (the new MySpace anthem, maybe?) and has a clear, clutter-free design many have associated with Apple products.
Maybe it was the lure of JT, or the lure of his bowtie, but I was curious enough to sign up for the site (or, re-sign-up since MySpace was #1 before Facebook) and check out what exactly it has to offer.
It is still music-centric. In fact, when you sign-up it not only allows you to connect with Facebook or Twitter (definitely can boost sign-ups) but it immediately asks you to associate with being a photographer, writer, musician, artist, etc. Justin can probably tout himself as all of the above and it sets the tone that this is a space for creative minds - just like Vimeo has done to set themselves apart from YouTube.
The horizontal scrolling isn't entirely new. It's something that bloggers have played around with before (like Internet celeb Julia Allison through her now-abandoned blog NonSociety).
You can pull certain artists down into a playlist. Honestly, I tend to use Vevo more than YouTube because I think their playlist set-up is much easier and I don't have to dig through 1,000 videos of funny cats and laughing babies to find music videos. So maybe MySpace is another alternative to YouTube by only being music and giving a more focused outlet to find independent artists - something you can't do on VeVo.
What does this mean for dealers?
Just because this is a music-centric site doesn't mean you shouldn't be paying attention. Here are the key aspects of the new MySpace that are important to you and your business.
1. Design - Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and now MySpace have very simple and clean designs - again, just like Apple products have made themselves famous with. If your consumers are looking at simplistic and user-friendly designs all day long, why would a cluttered dealer's homepage with pop-up windows and flashing pictures pull them in? There are 2 major focuses for dealers in 2013 - clean designs that offer more conversion and are mobile-friendly. Speaking of mobile....
2. Think mobile - horizontal scrolling, what does that remind you of? Oh, how about the easiest way to use a tablet? I don't think that was by coincidence, and you should take note of how your website looks like on mobile. Don't just "have a mobile site" and think you're "doing mobile" as if it's a checkbox on a list you only have to look at once. Test your mobile design on friends and family, ask for feedback. Does it offer clear conversion paths? Does it fit on all mobile devices?
3. Social-friendly images win - If Pinterest, Vimeo and Instagram taught us anything this past year, it is that social-friendly images always win. And no, photos of your happy customers or cars on your lot aren't exactly suitable for Pinterest or Instagram although in context they are much needed on Facebook and Twitter. But I go back to my note about design.
The Internet is teaching people to be more creative and at all times, so what is your dealership doing to push out more creative, unique, and social-friendly content, whether an image, video, or blog? Stock photos won't do. Templated content won't do. The bar is constantly being raised for businesses to keep up and stay ahead by offering the same and if not better content that the average consumer has been easily creating themselves.
Did you join the new MySpace? What are your thoughts?
Christine Rochelle, PCG