Does anyone else see the irony of this?
MySpace launches a "AIMKiller" with its own MySpaceIM client (great, now I have to run MSN, AIM, YahooIM, ICQ, GTalk, Skype, and now MySpaceIM).
This is of course within 24hours of the launch of AOLPages, AIM's take on MySpace and the SNS scene.
My quick take: MySpaceIM is a great way to get more "screentime" off the web for Fox/MySpace -- leveraging their critical mass that already uses IM with yet another IM client taht fully intergrates is smart. Yes, its another stupid IM Network but from my perspective, I think its clever -- they will get traction because the MySpace kids already use 4 different IM clients, and are used to running multiple chat clients.
While AOLPages does have some neat features, its going to have a huge uphill battle. Its got some "hip" stuff, but its seems a bit too much "me too" and not enough distrputive innovations to take down something with as much momentum as MySpace. Its got some great features and technology, but I'm just not sure if leveraging AIM without something really compelling on the web is enough to get people to swtich. They also have a simlar look and feel as MySpace which means that they are unlikely to appeal to a broader target demographic than what MySpaceh as already.
The strategy AOLPages took was to "build more" and make things more "AJAXy" which is "cool" but perhaps not what I would have done. It doesn't FEEL any better or different than MySpace as its just as cluttered and hard to navigate. I like how they took advantage of a lot of drag and dropable elements for customization, but doesn't seem quite as clean/effective as TagWorld's implementation.
So in a nut shell, AOL is trying to "out hip" MySpace, but it doesn't feel like it -- and in some ways just feels more cumbersome. What I would have probably done instead is try to simplify the experieince. Rather than building more features to out-do MySpace, focus on doing a subset of what MySpace does (i.e. music, photos, or video), and make it better/simpilfied and providing a more elegant way fo doing one of those silos and make it really compelling and distrputive.
But its still early days, and it seems like they have a solid technical team there, and I'm sure things will improve. If they can keep evovling it I'm sure they still have a solid shot. Esp. if they are able to align themselves with some interesting partnership sand/or content.
What Fox seems to be doing to me is leveraging MySpace into more of a traditional portal with a social networking bent. First you have MySpace SNS, then MySpace Blogs, then MySpace Videos, and now MySpace IM... 'm sure you could dig up the portal metrix somewhere and just start couting down the rows to see what might be next. With their buyout of Ksolo don't be surprised if you see MySpace online karaoke.
At this rate, I am looking forward to my MSN Karaokay 2007 Live web service. Or the eBay bid-for-your-5 mins to sing along with Britney Spears Skype powered Karaokay (with with Podcast support)
Let the craziness begin.