Peter M Howard ::

wintermute.com.au

MySpace :: the latest victim of cultural ignorance

07July2006 [branding]
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So MySpace just launched an Australian site. Haven’t seen it marketed yet, so it’s possible they’ll fix things up before a ‘real’ launch, but I very much doubt it.

Problems though: they’ve barely tried to adapt the site for an Australian audience! They do, at least, offer locally relevant info under the ‘MySpace Music’ heading on the front page (either Australian bands or bands that are touring here soon). But beyond that everything has been ripped straight from the US site. It becomes most obvious in the Videos section, “presented by Cingular”, who don’t even have a presence in Australia! One would think they’d make some sort of partnership with a local company before releasing an Aussie site!

MySpace Videos :: presented by Cingular

Haven’t explored the rest of the site yet, because I’m terribly put off by the lack of actual localisation going on. I’ll be interested to see what the marketing in Oz is like. MySpace doesn’t have much of a presence here, but if they localise the marketing they could do really well. If they just reuse marketing material from the States they’ll go the way Starbucks did when they first came to Australia… And they don’t want to go that way.

While I was there, I did notice a rather strangely designed bit:

MySpace Google Ads?

Doesn’t that look terribly like Google AdSense ads done up in site colours? The first time I saw them my eye skipped straight past. But I looked closely and saw that those ‘ads’ are actually inviting people to get started on MySpace! (Which is even more ad-like: I see a remarkable number of Google ads inviting me to create a blog or similar!) I grabbed the following from my uncle’s blog about blogging, The Qwertyrash blogs. He’s made sure the colours of the ads suit his site’s colours, and you’ll notice ads saying “Start blogging”, “Free website” &c; which is terribly similar to “Get Started on MySpace!” and “Create Your Profile!”…

Qwertyrash Google Ads

Now, since my eye has been trained to ignore little boxes with a bold heading, a small paragraph of text, followed by a little hyperlink, especially when the text has keywords like blog or profile (that are becoming, increasingly, signs of spam), why would anyone put the most important links of their site (ie, to attract new users) hiding down the bottom of the page disguised as ads?!

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