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商业 - 科技

Myspace转型失败的五大教训

Michael Jones 2011年10月26日

Myspace可能是大型互联网媒体公司转型最引人关注的失败案例。现在,Myspace前CEO迈克尔•琼斯现身说法,亲自撰文阐述了Myspace转型中的决策失误及其背后的原因。

    在过去两年里,我担任了Myspace的联合总裁和CEO。我经常被问道:“你为什么要接受这份工作?”这是个合情合理的问题。我之前是一个创业企业家,因此,Myspace的这份工作似乎与我的个性并不吻合。但对我来说,这份工作其实非常适合我,原因如下:

    •Myspace当时面临着很多挑战,我想知道我们究竟是否能够让这样一个拥有悠久历史的互联网品牌实现复兴。

    •我想深入了解这样一个巨大的媒体资产运作的机制。

    •我想在我的老家洛杉矶工作。

    一年前,我们对这个历史悠久的互联网品牌执行了一项最重大的改版。我们将Myspace重新定位成一家社交娱乐型网站,并且引入了全新的技术平台、产品和内容。但是改版后的Myspace在消费者中引起的反响不如我们预期的那么热烈。

    今年八月,在Myspace被广告技术公司Specific Media收购后,我卸任CEO一职。此后,我得以有时间思考我在Myspace的经验和教训。虽然还有很多关于Myspace的故事可能无法在本文中一一道出,不过我还是愿意与诸位转型期的CEO、互联网企业的管理者,以及满怀激情的梦想家们分享一些重要的教训。

    Myspace究竟发生了什么?

    Myspace当时的确面临许多组织上的问题,影响了公司的转型速度。但是说到底,还是公司的基本面拖了我们的后腿。许多其他历史悠久的网络公司也面临着同样的问题。以下是我们学到的一些最重大的教训。

    1. 消费者有很长的品牌记忆。

    2. 实用性比娱乐性的生命力更长久。

    3. 感知到的势头=感知到的价值

    4. 大型企业的内部变革必须以大刀阔斧的行动为中心展开。

    5. 单一门户=单一故障点

    长期品牌记忆。这个教训是专门针对那些拥有悠久历史的老品牌的:要记住,通常说来,创立一个新的品牌所获得的回馈,要大于投资于一个现有的品牌。例如谷歌(Google)推出了Google Plus这个新的社交平台,而不是投资改进现有的Buzz或Orkut。美国在线(AOL)花大力气推广新产品Patch,而不是现有的AOL Local。而我们却选择了保留Myspace的品牌,这是一个错误。我们发现,无论我们再怎么改进产品和营销信息,消费者对这个品牌的记忆还是太强大了,使他们无法用全新的眼光和开放的心态来对待Myspace。我们始终无法超越Myspace的动态GIF在他们心中的经典地位。

    可能有人会说,如果投入更多的时间和营销资金,我们可能最终能够改变消费者对Myspace的观念。但事实上,大型的品牌活动对于其他大型互联网公司也同样没有效果。比如雅虎(Yahoo)在“It's Y!ou”广告活动上砸了1亿美元,但最终收效甚微。我不认为一个大型的消费活动就能显著改变Myspace的命运。说到底,我相信如果我们当初把Myspace改版成为一个全新的品牌,也许它成功的机会更大。

    实用性比娱乐性活的生命力更长久。Myspace Music这个品牌有很强的娱乐性。它有个叫做Secret Shows的流行功能,为Myspace的用户独家呈现了一系列顶级歌手的免费演唱会,在用户的线上和线下体验之间成功地搭起了一座桥梁,并且在消费者中建立了一定的品牌口碑。在网站改版时,我们希望能够捕捉Myspace Music的精髓,并且将它延伸到网站的其它娱乐门类。

    然而,Myspace最缺乏的是实用性——也就是说,我们并没有一种促使用户每天都要登录网站的产品,一种对于消费者来说具有长期实用性的产品。比如Facebook从一开始就要求用户实名注册。这一做法帮助Facebook建立起了一个真实世界的社交图谱,它对于用户来说有着绝对的实用性。换句话说,它有着长期的价值。虽说Myspace也有它的娱乐价值,但考虑到它的匿名性和娱乐性,Myspace主打的是兴趣图谱,它在实用性上从来没有达到Facebook的水平。

    雅虎和谷歌也是很好的例子。雅虎是一个内容型的娱乐品牌,但也提供邮件和照片等实用性功能。相比之下,谷歌几乎完全主打实用性。我们的教训是,市场和消费者先天就是更倾向于实用性,而不是娱乐性,因为实用性可以使他们的日常生活变得更加轻松,而消费者更容易与这些实用功能培养出更长期和持久的关系。

    感知到的势头=感知到的价值。到2010年8月,Myspace每月都与1亿多名用户进行互动,网页访问量数以十亿记,歌曲下载量达数亿首。尽管这些数据十分惊人,但Myspace的市场价值却远远低于许多规模更小,但提供相似服务的公司。

    我们的教训是:市场是根据对一家公司势头的感知,来确定这家公司的价值的,不管这是一家小公司,还是一家大型的老牌公司。而对于创业公司来说,我敢说势头就是一切。在给初创公司提供咨询时,我往往建议他们,要么着重展现吸引用户的能力,要么着重展现吸引收入的能力——但一般来说,同时做到这两点是很困难的。最糟糕的情况就是,一家初创公司在这两方面的势头都比较一般,无法展现出清晰、强劲的增长势头。

    Over the last two years, I served as co-¬president and then CEO of Myspace. I am often asked, "Why did you take that job?" It is a fair question. As a former startup entrepreneur, the Myspace role seemed out of character. But for me, Myspace was actually a perfect fit for the following reasons:

    • I wanted to know if it could be done -- if we could revive a legacy Internet brand that had so many challenges.

    • I wanted to study how a large media property works from the inside out.

    • I wanted to do it in my hometown of Los Angeles.

    A year ago, we executed one of the most significant relaunches of a historical Internet brand. We repositioned Myspace (NWS) as a social entertainment destination and introduced an entirely new technology platform, new products and refreshed content. However, the new Myspace didn't gain as much traction with consumers as we had hoped.

    In August, after Specific Media acquired Myspace, I stepped down as CEO. Since then, I've been able to reflect upon my experience there. Although there will be many stories about Myspace left untold, I learned some important lessons that I'd like to share with fellow turnaround CEOs, anyone charged with running an Internet business -- and the passionate dreamers.

    So, what happened?

    While it's true that Myspace faced a variety of organizational challenges that impacted the speed at which we could transform the company, in the end, it was the fundamentals that held us back. And, many other legacy Internet businesses are grappling with the same kinds of problems. Here are some of the top lessons we learned:

    1. Consumers have long brand memories.

    2. Utility outlasts entertainment.

    3. Perceived momentum = perceived value.

    4. Change within large organizations must be centered around drastic actions.

    5. Single front door = single point of failure.

    Long Brand Memories. The lesson here is for legacy brands: there is often more reward for creating a new brand than investing in an existing brand. For example, Google (GOOG) launched Plus, not Buzz or Orkut. AOL (AOL) focused on Patch, not AOL Local. Yet in our case, we chose to keep the Myspace brand. This was a mistake. We found that regardless of how much we improved the product or the marketing message –– consumers' memories about the brand were too strong to allow them to view Myspace with fresh eyes and an open mind. We could not escape their images of animated GIFs.

    It could be argued that with more time and more marketing dollars, we might have been able to change users' perceptions of Myspace. However, massive brand campaigns haven't worked to turn around other big Internet companies. Yahoo's (YHOO) $100 million "It's Y!ou" ad campaign is one such example. I don't think a large consumer campaign would have significantly changed the outcome for Myspace. In the end, I believe Myspace would have had a better chance for success if we had relaunched it as an entirely new brand.

    Utility Outlasts Entertainment. Myspace Music has always had a strong brand affiliation with entertainment. Its popular Secret Shows franchise -- a series of free concerts with top artists exclusively for Myspace users -- helped to create an incredible bridge between online and offline experiences and established a certain brand tone in consumers' minds. With the relaunch, we sought to capture the essence of Myspace Music and expand it to other entertainment categories on the site.

    However, where Myspace came up short was on utility -- that is, we didn't have a product that compelled users to come to the site every day, something that had true-long lasting utility for consumers. At its inception, Facebook required users' to register with their real names. This helped it develop a real world social graph that was a true utility for users and thus. In other words, it has long-lasting value. Whereas Myspace's entertainment value, with its optional anonymity and its entertainment -¬‐ focused interest graph, never achieved the same level of utility for consumers.

    Yahoo and Google are also a good example of this. Yahoo is a content oriented, entertainment brand with some utility via email, photos, etc. Compare that to Google, which is near‐pure utility to the consumer. The lesson here is that the market and consumers are predisposed to value utility over entertainment because consumers create longer lasting relationships with utilities that make their daily lives easier.

    Perceived momentum = perceived value. As of August 2010, Myspace was interacting with over 100 million users a month, generating billions of page views and streaming hundreds of millions of songs. Yet, despite these incredible metrics, the market value for Myspace was far below the value placed on many other smaller, yet similar, businesses.

    The lesson here is that the market determines value based on the perception of a company's momentum, whether it's a small businesses or a large legacy enterprise. For startups, I would go a step further and say that momentum is everything. When I advise start‐ups, I recommend they focus on showing either user traction or revenue traction -- but typically it is hard to do both. In fact, one of the worst places a startup can end up is having modest momentum in both areas but not being able to show clear, strong growth momentum.

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