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Myspace charging to promote applications

From Social Times:

Over the past couple days, MySpace launched a new page which includes a “featured” section as pictured to below. For the past 2 days all of the applications in that space are Slide applications. Developers began inquiring with MySpace about why only Slide applications were showing up there. The result? At least one developer I’ve spoken with found out that MySpace is in fact charging for those apps to be “featured.”

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So how much does it cost to be featured? My sources have been pitched to at between $50,000 and $100,000 for one week as a featured application on the MySpace applications page. This is the first platform which has actively attempted to generate revenue directly from application developers. Additionally, this could be bad news for companies with application ad networks as MySpace is now directly competing with them.

I think this is a short sighted move. In the short term I’m sure they will generate more revenue, but in the long run this will result in less apps being developed and used on the platform and hence a less vibrant ecosystem. There will be no thousand flowers blooming.

  • http://www.brainbakery.com JofArnold

    Although it stinks of Murdoch, it’s not entirely dumb. Whilst F8 was critical in getting a lot of additional coverage and customers for facebook, as I understand it myspace still leads despite this – so they don’t need to bet the house. If these charges mean they can focus on attracting high-value, high-quality applications then maybe they won’t end up in facebook’s scenario of tens of millions of people HATING apps (and by extension facebook).

  • http://www.brainbakery.com JofArnold

    Although it stinks of Murdoch, it’s not entirely dumb. Whilst F8 was critical in getting a lot of additional coverage and customers for facebook, as I understand it myspace still leads despite this – so they don’t need to bet the house. If these charges mean they can focus on attracting high-value, high-quality applications then maybe they won’t end up in facebook’s scenario of tens of millions of people HATING apps (and by extension facebook).

  • nic

    Hi Jof – as I see it the problem on Facebook is the application invite spam, not the applications themselves. That is what needs to be controlled to protect the user experience, and that is where FB have been making adjustments.

    Further, I’m not sure that by charging for application promotion you get higher quality apps. Probably the cost of promotion will actually reduce the development budget.

  • nic

    Hi Jof – as I see it the problem on Facebook is the application invite spam, not the applications themselves. That is what needs to be controlled to protect the user experience, and that is where FB have been making adjustments.

    Further, I’m not sure that by charging for application promotion you get higher quality apps. Probably the cost of promotion will actually reduce the development budget.

  • http://joshuamarch.co.uk Joshua March

    Hi Nic,

    Got to disagree with you on this one – I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this move. You can pay Google to have your website featured, and I’m pretty sure that this hasn’t results in less websites being developed.

    The truth is, advertising on the big social networks isn’t monetising very well. Application platforms allow companies to actually engage with users rather than attempting to push interruptive adverts. The social networks can monetise their application platforms slightly by showing adverts around canvas pages, but this is very minimal – and nothing like the brand engagement of using the app itself. So, instead of shoving more and more adverts into the already crowded site, charging to have your application features on the app homepage and in relevant app category pages makes much more sense, is better for users as they only see it when looking for apps rather than just adverts around the site, better for brands who can effectively promote their applications, and better for MySpace who get to monetise the app platform properly.

    This won’t impinge on good applications which aren’t paying – you only have to look at the huge viral success of many apps without any paid promotion to see that when an application does it right it will spread virally using the powerful viral channels on most social networks. And, if the platform is monetising well for MySpace, they’ll put in more resources and time – so benefiting non-paying developers too.

  • http://joshuamarch.co.uk Joshua March

    Hi Nic,

    Got to disagree with you on this one – I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this move. You can pay Google to have your website featured, and I’m pretty sure that this hasn’t results in less websites being developed.

    The truth is, advertising on the big social networks isn’t monetising very well. Application platforms allow companies to actually engage with users rather than attempting to push interruptive adverts. The social networks can monetise their application platforms slightly by showing adverts around canvas pages, but this is very minimal – and nothing like the brand engagement of using the app itself. So, instead of shoving more and more adverts into the already crowded site, charging to have your application features on the app homepage and in relevant app category pages makes much more sense, is better for users as they only see it when looking for apps rather than just adverts around the site, better for brands who can effectively promote their applications, and better for MySpace who get to monetise the app platform properly.

    This won’t impinge on good applications which aren’t paying – you only have to look at the huge viral success of many apps without any paid promotion to see that when an application does it right it will spread virally using the powerful viral channels on most social networks. And, if the platform is monetising well for MySpace, they’ll put in more resources and time – so benefiting non-paying developers too.