When MySpace News launched last month, I described it as the latest move to turn News Corp's social networking site into a one-stop-shop, providing as many reasons as possible for its users to stay within the site. MySpace keeps adding new features and content previously provided by 3rd party sites, such as video sharing, music downloads, and -- with MySpace News -- news aggregation and voting, making the social network resemble a modern day portal.
And yet browsing MySpace News today, the place feels like a ghost town. Sure the news headlines are up-to-date thanks to the algorithm provided by its purchase of Newroo, and yet almost every story has zero votes. But why might that be?
The most obvious reason is that MySpace has done next to nothing to promote the service to its users. The launch drummed up a lot of mainstream media and blog coverage, but MySpace News still isn't linked from the homepage. It could be a simple case that nobody knows of its existence.
However, I think there are other reasons why MySpace news might not take off. Firstly, unlike Digg, users don't submit the stories that will be voted on and instead the service takes an automated approach similar to Google News. Despite Murdoch preaching that the new generation "want control over their media, instead of being controlled by it", MySpace users aren't trusted enough to have total editorial control. They can vote but they can't nominate an individual story. Secondly, MySpace news doesn't really operate with a social network in mind -- it all feels very centralized. Where's the MySpace News widget, or the ability to create a personalized news channel to share on your profile?
However, until MySpace decides to promote its news service to its huge user base, we won't know for sure if -- and to what extent -- it will be successful.