SHIFTING LANDSCAPE FOR ONLINE & OFFLINE GIANTS

The landscape is changing for new and old players. It’s interesting to watch the ground shift and wonder where our world of information is going.

MySpace and Facebook have reached plateaus. The Wall Street Journal reports that MySpace is facing a backlash from users weary of being marketed to incessantly through fake friend requests, messages, and endless ads for Asian porn. Facebook had been restricted to students but recently opened itself up to anyone, which temporarily caused a spike in its growth rate, but lowers its appeal to the college kids that originally drove its popularity.

Google paid a staggering amount for YouTube and is beginning the process of making YouTube an obedient corporate asset, a process that will deaden its appeal to the groups that made it a hot property to begin with. SF Weekly speculates that Google’s lawyers will be forced to reign in or remove material that displeases the copyright police. There’s already some bad signs – Comedy Central just ordered the removal of all its material from YouTube, apparently in the belief that we will all flock to its horrendous ad-laden clip viewer to watch Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Here’s the New York Times article about the Comedy Central purge.

In the meantime, newspapers are in awful shape – the Boston Globe and Los Angeles Times are in play with dreadful circulation numbers, and Time Inc. is reportedly looking to unload a few properties. Overall, newspaper circulation has been plunging for decades and the latest numbers show the sharpest decline in fifteen years.