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Spreading the AOL vs. MySpace rumor

True to our mission of blogging what bloggers are blogging, we're compelled to report not only the about AOL taking on MySpace, but the resulting online kerfuffle.


What started as a rumor Dave Winer wrote yesterday on his Scripting News blog, evolved into a linking frenzy and then headlines like "AOL to launch MySpace killer."

"Here's where a mash-up between Web 2.0 and the MSM gets interesting, or kind of sad, depending on your perspective," blogged AOL's Ted Leonsis, in an attempt to quell the firestorm. "C'mon. Working on a product that 'kills' another, popular product is just so...1999."

Leonsis went on to explain that the company is looking to open up and add functionality to its AIM Buddy List-- "the original social network." "Rather than thinking of it as a killer of anything, let alone MySpace, it will allow our millions of users to express themselves in new and interesting ways..."

Leonsis said the company will say more soon, but others are talking now.

Blog community response:

"In our industry one service rarely kills another: GMAIL didn't kill Hotmail, Yahoo IM didn't kill AIM, Google Finance hasn't killed Yahoo Finance, etc., etc., etc. In fact, as time goes on the success of web services becomes more and more based on interoperability, not annihilation. Why shouldn't users be able to use AIM for IM, GMAIL for email, MySpace for their personal page, Blogsmith for their blog, Linked in for business networking, and if they like? That's what I do!"

"This market is red hot. Mature players like Facebook and Fox-owned Myspace basically own their respective categories, and better-featured (and funded to the hilt) newcomers like Tagworld and Tagged gunning for the big guys. Even aging Friendster, mostly written off as living dead, has made a recent (if quiet) comeback based on Alexa stats. Fickle teenagers and young adults are quick to jump ship to the hot new thing, but these existing players will certainly not lie down for AOL."

"The reality is that for most adults, MySpace is a social phenomenon that has not made a direct impact on us. It has been primarily limited to young adults and teens. There is still the opportunity for a social network for the rest of us, and it could well be based on the AIM buddylist. 43 million users is a good start."