This in effect left thousands of user profiles with broken links to their previously accessible material and could have adversely affected Photobucket had there been a decrease in traffic. While this may not sounds like a major cyber anthro story, something to consider here is how the community reacted.
Photobucket responded by posting to their own blog stating what they thought of the measure and what to do to counteract it.
“We believe that by limiting your ability to personalize your pages with content from any source, MySpace is contradicting the very belief of personal and social media. MySpace became successful because of the creativity of you, its users, and because it offered a forum for self-expression. By severely restricting this freedom, MySpace is showing that it considers you as a commodity which it can treat as it sees fit.
What can you do?
Vote with your feet and your keyboards. Tell MySpace how you feel.
- Write to firstname.lastname@example.org or click here to give them your thoughts.
- Send a MySpace bulletin to all your friends telling them to also give MySpace their feedback.
- You can also post a comment on this blog.”
Imagine this outside of the internet. How would the information have been disseminated to it’s community? Do you think this would have worked to make a difference?
ZDNet captured the essence of the struggle here stating:
“The monetization of MySpace, Rupert Murdoch is all business and he’s going to push a lot of initiatives to make money. The big question is whether monetization alienates users and hurts MySpace growth.
The staying power of social sites. Photobucket is urging its users to vote with their keyboards and complain to MySpace. The big picture: MySpace is looking more like a walled garden every day. That’s fine, but at some point it’s going to look more AOL-ish. In other words, MySpace is going to lose its cool. How well does a customer lock-in strategy work on a social site? There are no simple answers, but the fall could come quickly. Just as peer pressure fueled growth it could also result in an exodus. The momentum can cut both ways. That fact is one reason why I’m wary of the “pay anything for a social site” approach.
It’s likely this Photobucket vs. MySpace spat will blow over, but the big picture issues are going to remain for a while.”
I think he makes a crucial point here. It’s the community that drives social networking sites, which means the community also has the power to cause these sites to fail. When you affect a large enough piece of the population in such a way that it looks as though you are taking away a freedom you’ve already bestowed upon it (and is likely what part of the attraction to the social networking site was in the first place), they are likely to revolt in one way or another. The most devastating of which here would be of course to take their social networking elsewhere.
While this has indeed blown over, it is likely the next time something like this happens that MySpace users won’t be so forgiving.