Saturday, July 14, 2007

CommunityNext Take-aways: MySpace and RockYou

Attended the CommunityNext conference today in Sunnyvale. Here are some of my key take-aways:

Jason Feffer, 3rd employee at MySpace

  • 2 kinds of MySpace page creators: exhibitionists and marketers
  • People like to be exhibitionists
  • MySpace provided tools for these exhibitionists to bring other people in
  • People would invite others to check out their MySpace page
  • Only 1 year after launch did they think to give people their own URL
  • 1 exhibitionist brings 5K-10K voyeurs
  • Other type of creator: marketer
  • Bands started to market themselves using MySpace
  • MySpace became a tool for people to brand themselves
  • It wasn't "come look at MySpace." It was "come look at me."
  • They didn't stress MySpace--users infected others with themselves.
  • "MySpace became a utility for people to infect others, and then we branded that utility."
  • Brand was really important to MySpace--turned down opportunity to be promoted by a party in Vegas ("If we throw a party, it's our brand, it's our party, not someone else's"). Stayed in LA to project the brand of being media/entertainment company (not tech).
  • MySpace was totally user focused. They hired people who used MySpace, who were part of the MySpace crowd.
  • Jason's new venture: Sodahead. Way for people to create polls and embed rich media (videos, photos, etc.). It becomes a way for people to express themselves in polls.
  • Created a polling widget that you can put on MySpace. Users can register for Sodahead directly from within MySpace.
  • Marketing strategy--attach the poll to celebrities, leaders.
  • Celebrity creates a poll, fans embed it within their MySpace pages
  • Other MySpace marketing learnings: demi-celebrities were early users, they brought many other users with them. Get the hardcore users that attract others.
  • YouTube, Photobucket were successful widget examples--people saw them at MySpace, wanted to use as well.
  • Niche vertical targeting at MySpace--focus on vertical ("inch wide, mile deep")
Jia Shen, CTO and Founder, Rock You

Rock You is all about self-expression widgets
~14% penetration on MySpace, ~25% penetration on Facebook
43M uniques, 450K widgets/day; slideshows (100K/day)
14 people--never did any marketing
  • The premise: you don't want to look like everyone else; you want to stand out, look cool
  • Leverages people's desire to accessorize
  • Self-expression (earrings, sticker on backpack)
  • Rock You's first widget, slideshow, was created because there was no easy slideshow app created for the average user
  • Existing method was very cumbersome, required some technical knowledge
Understand your user
  • Know demographic (for Rock You, it's young non-technical female who wants to accessorize)
  • Do market research (get magazines, hang out online [MySpace], see how people talk and interact)
  • Do user studies--interview high school students every day

What's the use case
  • Replace something existing (slideshow replaced existing marquee HTML process)
  • Benefit of replacing something existing--users "totally get it"
  • Study the MySpace page: 3 components
  • About, interests, comments
  • About--something really personalized, people spend average of 30 min creating slideshows
  • Interests--not going to spend a lot of time, quickly create items (Flixster, quizzes)
  • Comments--quick creation, have to be small (Rock You's "glitter text"--5-sec creation process)

Viral channels
  • MySpace
  • User bulletins
  • In page profile: "That looks cool, how do I get my own?" Make the call to action obvious to the user. Users embedded a slideshow--was really cool, other users could create their own.
  • Facebook
  • Minifeed: in-profile experience less important; little icon must look really good. Call to action should be in the mini-feed.
  • Invite: send to people who will actually convert over.

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