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Inside MySpace.com

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the like-Topsy dept.

The Internet 250

lizzyben writes "Baseline is running a long piece about the inner workings of MySpace.com. The story chronicles how the social networking site has continuously upgraded its technology infrastructure — not entirely systematically — to accommodate more than 26 million accounts. It was a rocky road and there are still hiccups, several of which writer David F. Carr details here." From the story: "MySpace.com's continued growth flies in the face of much of what Web experts have told us for years about how to succeed on the Internet. It's buggy, often responding to basic user requests with the dreaded 'Unexpected Error' screen, and stocked with thousands of pages that violate all sorts of conventional Web design standards with their wild colors and confusing background images. And yet, it succeeds anyway."

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250 comments

I Would Have Signed Up... (3, Interesting)

Wandering Wombat (531833) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636166)

... but apparently Tom has enough friends.


Seriously, I had a look at a few pages, and when I eventually managed to CTRL-ALT-DELETE my browser into submission, I made damn well sure never to go back there. Are there people that actually have enough computing power to handle some of those profiles?

Re:I Would Have Signed Up... (0)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636520)

Seriously, I had a look at a few pages, and when I eventually managed to CTRL-ALT-DELETE my browser into submission

Does ALT-F4 not work on your computer?

Well... (4, Funny)

remmelt (837671) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636620)

His keyboard repeat rate probably couldn't keep up with the exponential browser pop ups.

Re:I Would Have Signed Up... (1, Redundant)

Wandering Wombat (531833) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636652)

It does, but not when it's MySpace-clogged. I have to use OS-level controls (CTRL-ALT-DEL) to stop it.

Re:I Would Have Signed Up... (5, Insightful)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 7 years ago | (#17637566)

Firefox doesn't respond to a normal application close signal when stuck in intensive Javascript loops. I run into similar problems in some articles on Slashdot.

They really need to break the Javascript engine into a separate thread and avoid hinging all browser response on it. Or maybe that's just a flaw with the XUL way of doing things. Dunno.

Re:I Would Have Signed Up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17636848)

I hear you on your agony of the pages. I feel even worse for you, considering the fact that you had to use CTRL-ALT-DELETE, your diggin' your own grave there.

Re:I Would Have Signed Up... (1)

OctaviusIII (969957) | more than 7 years ago | (#17637214)

I dunno what pages you were on, but a four-year-old computer had no problems on about 20 pages I checked. The designs are hellish, but certainly not enough to pull firefox to its knees.

Then again, maybe that's because I adblock the music and hostblock the ads...

Re:I Would Have Signed Up... (2, Funny)

Wandering Wombat (531833) | more than 7 years ago | (#17637288)

I checked out some profiles from the group of my local town... it brought Firefox to it's knees, and then did naughty, naughty things to it. True, they were mostly high school kids, I figure (not many people in my town are computer literate over the age of 20), but still... come on, people. Have some pride in your appearance.

Re:I Would Have Signed Up... (1, Informative)

rholliday (754515) | more than 7 years ago | (#17637738)

Yeah, I think GP had just the slightest bit of exaggeration there. While I've been sent to some hellish MySpace profile pages in my time, with dozens of animated GIFs and Flash videos, I have yet to have it threaten my "computing power." Much less have I had to resort to using (and I quote [slashdot.org] ) "OS-level controls (CTRL-ALT-DEL)."

Also, who that's been on Slashdot this long has never even seen MySpace before? There have been at least hundreds [google.com] (counting dupes) of stories about it over the years.

But at least I learned something today, I suppose. The window close command ALT-F4 is apparently not as "OS-level" as CTRL-ALT-DEL. Good to know the hotkey caste system. ;)

Re:I Would Have Signed Up... (1)

forkazoo (138186) | more than 7 years ago | (#17637436)

... but apparently Tom has enough friends.

Seriously, I had a look at a few pages, and when I eventually managed to CTRL-ALT-DELETE my browser into submission, I made damn well sure never to go back there. Are there people that actually have enough computing power to handle some of those profiles?


Yes - there are tons of people who have plenty of power for browsing myspace. Tops on the list would be those with noscript installed and not set to trust myspace.com. Next would be people who browse using lynx or links. (Of course, in Links, it always says you have new messages and invitations and everything, which is kind of annoying if you are just checking to see if you have new mail.)

What? Yes, I really have gone to myspace.com using links.

Re:I Would Have Signed Up... (1)

Wandering Wombat (531833) | more than 7 years ago | (#17637510)

What's "noscript"?

Re:I Would Have Signed Up... (2, Informative)

riscthis (597073) | more than 7 years ago | (#17637760)

What's "noscript"?
An extension for Mozilla based browsers that disables JavaScript, Java etc except for sites you specifically whitelist.

See https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/722/ [mozilla.org]

Re:I Would Have Signed Up... (2, Informative)

cicho (45472) | more than 7 years ago | (#17637798)

An add-on for Firefox:
https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/722/ [mozilla.org]

Re:I Would Have Signed Up... (1)

Wandering Wombat (531833) | more than 7 years ago | (#17637904)

Giggity!

Re:I Would Have Signed Up... (2, Insightful)

onefourfive (950209) | more than 7 years ago | (#17638134)

a lot of these comments sound like a variation on, "When I was a kid, we didn't need any MySpace!"

im out of the age range everyone is throwing around here and yet, i both depend on MySpace for a lot AND enjoy its nuances. i am an independent bass player with good credentials and i like freelancing my musical skills. i have had a HUGE number of contacts come through with higher paying gigs. i have met interesting women on MySpace, too. one of which i am now seeing.

MySpace is all about looking around. its a FUN place! i have found insane humor, interesting conspiracy nutcases, fine art, great music, and some incredible design workarounds to beat the default styles in place on MySpace.

Saying you found nothing of value after a couple profile views on MySpace is like saying you found nothing of interest in the Kennedy Assassination after reading page 1732 of the Warren Commission Report (OK, i love conspiracy theorists! the Illuminati are well represented on MySpace. so are the 9-11, holocaust, and kennedy folks.).

its sad when you see readers of slashdot trashing something so 'unmarketable', unpredictable, and out of the ordinary as MySpace. and isnt it cool that something so 'wrong' could make it. it baffles science! Sure, its a little buggy now and then (as is eslasher's wunderkind, Linux), but who hasnt had trouble with traffic doubling every 3 months? theyve done a great job.

give it a chance. go look around. check out some of my top friends. like Erin. she has an AMAZING site!

kip www.myspace.com/kipmartin

Membership Milestones? (2, Informative)

ack154 (591432) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636172)

I think the milestones are a little behind... the last they mention is 26 million. Last I noticed they're nearly 150 million. Maybe that was the last significant upgrade worth mentioning? TFA didn't seem to mention... or I skipped over it. Very possible.

Re:Membership Milestones? (1)

dthable (163749) | more than 7 years ago | (#17637032)

But how many of those 150 million are duplicate accounts from the "I forgot my username and/or password" crowd?

Re:Membership Milestones? (4, Funny)

Viper Daimao (911947) | more than 7 years ago | (#17637180)

No, they went from 150 million down to 26 million. You obviously forgot this story [slashdot.org] .

Re:Membership Milestones? (3, Interesting)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 7 years ago | (#17637322)

Only about 30% of all accounts are really active, accessed once every 2 weeks. (Yes I have the data)

Everyone uses it (5, Interesting)

burbankmarc (838977) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636182)

It's not the stability or the design,it's just that people now adays say "what's your myspace" rather than "what's your phone number" There's tons of other sites out there with more functionality and more stable servers, but...no one uses those, do they?

Re:Everyone uses it (4, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636276)

It's not the stability or the design,it's just that people now adays say "what's your myspace" rather than "what's your phone number" There's tons of other sites out there with more functionality and more stable servers, but...no one uses those, do they?

Who are you talking about? Teenagers and college students? You must be, because as an adult, I don't know anyone that says anything of the sort and if they did I would ignore them from that point on. Please note, I'm only slightly outside of the age range where that site is most popular.

Re:Everyone uses it (3, Informative)

abigor (540274) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636396)

Tons of bands use it, small independent movie studios and film productions, etc. etc. Basically, anyone with anything to promote.

As far as personal profiles go, I'd suspect most people are pretty young, like 20s. But I know of many people in their 30s with MySpace sites also.

And we know why they're there. (5, Funny)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636480)

As far as personal profiles go, I'd suspect most people are pretty young, like 20s. But I know of many people in their 30s with MySpace sites also.

So, in other words, MySpace's chief demographics are "20-somethings" and "people trying to sleep with 20-somethings."

Re:And we know why they're there. (1)

poptones (653660) | more than 7 years ago | (#17637774)

So, in other words, MySpace's chief demographics are "20-somethings" and "people trying to sleep with 20-somethings."

And thus you have stumbled upon their secret for keeping it "safe from pedophiles."

Oh, wait...

Category #3 (1)

Shag (3737) | more than 7 years ago | (#17638126)

People who can't stand MySpace's (or for that matter Orkut's) errors and general suck, and thus scout around to find the social-networking/media sharing site that sucks least [multiply.com] , but leave a little something behind on MySpace as a "pointer" for their herd-behaving acquaintances. (I'm in this category [myspace.com] )

Re:Everyone uses it (3, Interesting)

StarvingSE (875139) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636660)

It's called a generation gap. I am in my 20's and admittedly use myspace. I think its a good tool for keeping in touch with old friends or getting back in touch with people you went to high school with. It is buggy, but it does a fairly decent job of sorting out those accounts so that you can find people in your school, company, or whatever. There are a lot of communication tools, like pagers in high school, cell phones in college, and even internet forums (like slashdot) that the younger crowd use and consider essential, but the older crowd takes a while to understand.

Yes, some of the sites on myspace are crap, but thats totally up to the user. The default white myspace page loads pretty quickly. Myspace hosts the content, they can't control what the pages look like. I have friends who have horrible pages, and I tell them that. But its up to them to host whatever content they want, and up to me to decide to view it.

I don't want to sound like a myspace fanboy, but I think it gets a lot of unneeded bad press because of things like child stalkers and bad page design. While these things suck, they happen because people exploit and abuse the system. Let's face it, myspace is still new and immature, but will probably get better and more polished given time and money.

Re:Everyone uses it (4, Informative)

HAKdragon (193605) | more than 7 years ago | (#17637006)

As an ex-myspacer, I know of the ocular and mental angish caused by some of the pages on myspace. However, greasemonkey [mozdev.org] and the myspace custome style remover [userscripts.org] script make using myspace bearable.

Re:Everyone uses it (1)

suggsjc (726146) | more than 7 years ago | (#17637614)

I'm in my 20's as well (early 20's at that). I do not (and have not, nor plan to) use myspace. I don't think I have EVER heard any of my friends reference their myspace (mostly because they don't have one) page. The only time I ever come across it is for some of the local small bands trying to make it (live in Nashville, so there are plenty).

On the other hand, facebook is the social network of choice (and my friends).

That said, I guess you will tend to use what your friends are using. So that leads an interesting study. 1) Who uses what 2) How many do they use 3) How much time effort do they spend on each

I don't spend that much time on facebook, but I know people who do. But how would the time be split if they used both myspace and facebook? Also, my college (Vanderbilt) got on the facebook train early on...so I wonder if that happens to by why the seemingly larger number of people who use it there? Come to think about it I did have one friend that used myspace, but she went to a different college...interesting.

Re:Everyone uses it (1, Insightful)

Paulrothrock (685079) | more than 7 years ago | (#17637994)

MySpace shouldn't have allowed their users to modify the pages so heavily. They shouldn't have allowed people to have music that plays when you visit the page. They shouldn't have made a system that can't talk to other stuff (like del.icio.us tags or RSS readers). They shouldn't have made it so freaking hard to use. (It takes three times as many clicks to do on something on MySpace than what it should take.)

I write web apps for a living. I know what a good app looks like. I could write a better MySpace clone in the space of a weekend. However, nobody would use it. Why? Because it's not "MySpace." For chrissakes: IT CAN'T REMEMBER THAT YOU WANT TO STAY LOGGED IN! That checkbox on the login page, as far as I can tell, DOES. NOTHING.

It's no wonder they had so much trouble keeping the system up and running, because they're obviously not professionals.

Re:Everyone uses it (1)

asliarun (636603) | more than 7 years ago | (#17637492)

"Please note, I'm only slightly outside of the age range where that site is most popular."

and you have a 4-digit slashdot ID??

Jokes apart, you ARE right. While MySpace might be some kind of a phenomenon among teens, tweens, weens and insert-your-demographic-here, I don't know of ANYONE in my group of friends (late 20s-early 30s) who has a MySpace account (unless they don't want to admit it!). Ryze, yes. On a side note, Orkut is way more popular in India... and one disgusting snot of jargon that it has spawned is a "scrap".

Re:Everyone uses it (4, Informative)

nunojsilva (1019800) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636798)

It's the same that's happening with MSN Instant Messaging: It's broken, the official client is the worst IM client I've ever seen, and it does not support important features as formatted text (multiple formatting in a single message), but people use it.

Also, when somebody wants to discuss something, or just talk, over the Internet, he/she asks "What's your MSN?".

Talking about MySpace, I've only visited it a couple of times (to see a football (soccer) player's myspace (which, probably, was just built by some fans), and Nick Sagan's one), and I told myself "I've never seen a site like this one - how can they call this a web page?".

But I know this sort of sites. At school my colleagues don't use myspace, they use hi5. And I've used it some times when I was still accessing it from public computers, with Portable Firefox. But when I accessed it with my laptop (i686 300Mhz 64Mb), it was *very* slow to load.

Solution? A member of the INDUCKS project invited me to their forum at orkut, so I started exploring that social network. It had the same sort of silly server errors (sometimes you see a "Bad, bad server, no donut for you!"), but they didn't occur as frequently as in hi5, and the site design is clearer than the one used at Orkut.

Fortunately GMAIL and Orkut have Gtalk integration, which means that everyone with an account in one of these services will be able to login at gtalk. This is good for me because some of my colleagues had to change to GMAIL accounts because a (very good!) teacher told us he wanted to send important documents via e-mail and that Hotmail was not the ideal tool, and the consequency is that now I'm able to talk to them using gtalk instead of MSN.

The big problem here is "eye candy". People like myspace because it's eye candy. People like the MSN client because it's eye candy. And the same happens with hi5 and other equally bad sites.

There's tons of other sites out there with more functionality and more stable servers, but...no one uses those, do they?

May you tell us which better sites do you know? I'd like to know :-)

Re:Everyone uses it (1)

Virgil Tibbs (999791) | more than 7 years ago | (#17637778)

Orkut is great...

but I hate most social networking. the worsed is piczo, followed by bebo, Hi5, by contrast myspace pages are good.

- at least ive seen practical , good uses of myspace, where as the others - i have never seens omewhere i would want to visit

Re:Everyone uses it (1)

dg41 (743918) | more than 7 years ago | (#17637848)

MSN? Must be a different crowd. I don't know anyone with MSN. Almost everyone I know uses AIM, but it's the same basic principle. The new AIM client is annoying, though. Gotta love Trillian.

Re:Everyone uses it (1)

kryptkpr (180196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17638018)

MSN is very popular in Canada. AIM is basically unheard of here since nobody actually uses AOL in this country.

Re:Everyone uses it (1)

Stevecrox (962208) | more than 7 years ago | (#17638198)

MSN is big in my corner of Britain, everyone has a hotmail account and uses instant messaging that I've come accross, AIM is pretty dead here the only people who use it are AOL subscribers and they are few and far in between.

Personnally I like Facebook, I don't like any of the others because of the nonsense with Facebook you have a design which doesn't make my eyes bleed and is surprisingly functional in what it does.

Scalability (4, Funny)

eviloverlordx (99809) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636186)

In November, MySpace, for the first time, surpassed even Yahoo in the number of Web pages visited by U.S. Internet users, according to comScore Media Metrix, which recorded 38.7 billion page views for MySpace as opposed to 38.05 billion for Yahoo.

The bad news is that MySpace reached this point so fast, just three years after its official launch in November 2003, that it has been forced to address problems of extreme scalability that only a few other organizations have had to tackle.


I agree. Keeping up with all of the pedophiles is something that most businesses rarely have to deal with.

Re:Scalability (1)

Wandering Wombat (531833) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636214)

And don't forget all the women with basketball-sized boobs. There's, like, a million of them on there... many of them look EXACTLY the same, too! Who needs porn, just spend five minutes on MySpace down at your local elementary school.

printer friendly (4, Informative)

pezzonovante1 (788328) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636208)

article here with no ads [baselinemag.com]

Re:printer friendly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17637706)

it's called adblock, stupid.

For now. (4, Interesting)

onion2k (203094) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636250)

And yet, it succeeds anyway.

All that "power" that they've given to the users, coupled with the nasty CSS it takes to use it, will be their undoing. There's no way that they can change now without breaking millions of profiles and really annoying a huge number of their users. It's a textbook example of poor long term vision. MySpace is a huge success now, and it will continue to be for a while. One day though someone will make a social network that is quick, easy, and customisable in a well-thought out way. Then MySpace will empty very, very quickly.

Mind you, there's no reason why that site wouldn't be MySpace2 or something. I'm only refering to the network, not the company.

Re:For now. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17636446)

You win. Many will make something that does everything MySpace does only without all the horrible hassle. One or two of them will also build in a MySpace-importer which pulls their existing profile over intact (preferably without all the ugly ass crud though). From there it's just a matter of which one of the MySpace replacements hits a critical mass first, and then MySpace becomes just another Friendster. In the long-term MySpace will burn out and fade away. I think the boys at Fox all know this and expect it, I think their real interest in purchasing the site was the incredible amount of market research it represents. They'll build millions of high quality consumer profiles from all that data and milk them for the rest of those stupid kids lives.

Re:For now. (3, Interesting)

toadlife (301863) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636532)

There's no way that they can change now without breaking millions of profiles and really annoying a huge number of their users.
They most certainly can change it, and it wouldn't be as impossible as you think. What they would do is create a new page layout schema but support old one at the same time. When the new schema goes live, all new users would automatically be assigned the new schema while existing users would stay on the old one. Existing users would then be coaxed into adopting the new layout via banner advertisements, or in-house "spam". It would take awhile to do the migration, and a cutoff might need to be implemented after a year or so to take care of orphaned pages, but impossible it would certainly not be.

Re:For now. (1)

vitaflo (20507) | more than 7 years ago | (#17637422)

All that "power" that they've given to the users, coupled with the nasty CSS it takes to use it, will be their undoing.

Hate to break it to ya, but that's exactly the reason it's so popular.

Re:For now. (1)

Andrew Kismet (955764) | more than 7 years ago | (#17637474)

I personally use Facebook (because I'm at a British university, and nearly every uni I know uses it) and that doesn't have any of the layout hells of MySpace. It's actually just... convenient.
I wonder if it'll eventually outdo MySpace.

Re:For now. (1)

creativeHavoc (1052138) | more than 7 years ago | (#17637550)

Way back before myspace there was essentially the exact same thing called bolt. When it outgrew itself it did just that, sprouted a new bolt, completly unrelated to the old Bolt. Usernames didnt come over or anything.

Niche market... (5, Insightful)

djones101 (1021277) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636264)

MySpace has the stranglehold on the niche market. Any and every person who just wants their own pegboard, office cubicle side, or office wall to decorate can do so in cyberspace, especially students who otherwise have no way to really express themselves (at least in their own opinion). It takes very little experience to develop your own page that does exactly what you want. It's the Google Gadget system for the common user, or Geektools for High Schoolers, if you want to call it that. Unless someone can find a good way to draw a significant userbase away from MySpace (and I haven't seen anything that will come close), they will continue to succeed.

Everyone signs up because.. (5, Funny)

necro2607 (771790) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636294)

... they click on the pictures of the hot girls, only to get a "You must be logged in to do that!" message.

Re:Everyone signs up because.. (0, Flamebait)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636518)

Myspace is softcore child (1417) porn in a "legal" form. We all know it.

Running on Microsoft... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17636324)

Web application technology -- Microsoft Internet Information Services, .NET Framework
Server operating system -- Windows 2003
Programming language and environment -- Applications written in C# for ASP.NET
Database -- SQL Server 2005

Before someone else beats me to it and is wholly serious, I'd better say:

Running on M$ Winblows? No wonder it runs so poorly!!!1

Why is it so hard? (4, Insightful)

dedazo (737510) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636332)

Every single time I see a MySpace "analysis" there's that snide, bloghorati uber-alles comment about "web standards" and "lack of design". Holy crap. I am no fan of MySpace, but at least I'm mature enough to realize that people (normal people) don't give a dead rat's ass about CSS, DOM, XHTML, microformats, "mashups" or any of that other stuff that the self-appointed standards nannies of teh interwebs have decided everyone should observe closely or face death. A standardized and structured semantic web space is important, but please rent a fucking clue. They don't care. MySpace is never going to fix something that in their opinion is quite certainly not broken, because their users love it, and they get to dance with it all the way to the bank.

Just fucking deal with it and stop pointing out that ==--~~L0N3rz1124~~--=='s blog does not validate. We know, and they don't give a shit.

Re:Why is it so hard? (2, Insightful)

Wandering Wombat (531833) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636466)

Maybe if people were given a way to make an attractive and functional MySpace page without resorting to pink twinkly "This Space Pimped With Rogers SpacePimper" graphics and thirty megs of site garbage, they'd stop pimping and start primping.

Re:Why is it so hard? (2, Insightful)

dedazo (737510) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636490)

But that's the problem - pink twinkly pimped pages is what MySpace's user demographics enjoy. That's my point.

Re:Why is it so hard? (1)

Wandering Wombat (531833) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636546)

If that is true (and I hope for the future of the species that it's not), then they really, REALLY need to be shown alternatives.


Are you telling me that they purposefully go out of their way to make awful, cluttered, unreadable MySpace pages, where the graphics and the links to not match up, where some buttons are just impossible to press, with thumping rap music? Think of it as being a good Samaritan, and showing these people... a better way.

Just an idea, though. As long as they don't bug me (and thankfully, I don't know ANYONE who seems to like MySpace), I really don't care all that much.

Re:Why is it so hard? (2, Insightful)

dedazo (737510) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636718)

Are you telling me that they purposefully go out of their way to make awful, cluttered, unreadable MySpace pages, where the graphics and the links to not match up, where some buttons are just impossible to press, with thumping rap music?

That's my take. Surely MySpace allows anyone to design their web pages in many ways, so the fact that *so many* of them suck twelve ways from Sunday is an indication that such "design" is a choice, and not a directive. I'm sure they have templates, and the templates cater to different "tastes", but I'd be surprised if MySpace doesn't let you create a simple page, regardless of whether or not it passes the W3C validator.

Blogo ergo sum, that's what these people like and enjoy.

Re:Why is it so hard? (1)

Wandering Wombat (531833) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636876)

Blogo ergo sum, that's what these people like and enjoy.


*weep*

Re:Why is it so hard? (1)

klenwell (960296) | more than 7 years ago | (#17637616)

Maybe if people were given a way to make an attractive and functional MySpace page without resorting to pink twinkly "This Space Pimped With Rogers SpacePimper" graphics and thirty megs of site garbage, they'd stop pimping and start primping.

Like this?

moshi project [google.com]

True, it requires more concentration than most myspace users can muster, but a slashdotter can primp to his heart's delight.

A sample: http://www.myspace.com/klenwell [myspace.com]

Re:Why is it so hard? (3, Insightful)

Jett (135113) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636568)

Where is the line then? The few times I've tried to figure out what the hell is up with myspace my browser gets beaten to death by the horrific web design. I saw one page where multiple flash players loaded several video and audio files AT THE SAME TIME. The inmates can only run the asylum for so long. It's great they've managed to build a "web 2.0" version of Geocities, but when half the pages they host required a multi-ghz beast of a machine to even load I don't see how their model can really be sustainable. You either follow standards and good design or you let your users produce web pages which crash most peoples browsers.

Re:Why is it so hard? (3, Informative)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 7 years ago | (#17637208)

Oh, for crying out loud, just install FlashBlock [mozdev.org] .

Re:Why is it so hard? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17636592)

Certainly: most users on MySpace don't care whether the site is well-designed or not. They'll forgive it the frequent error messages, the horrific customization methods, and the buggy URLs. That's not being contested. The point is: the design they've chosen means their site isn't flexible. It means they're less able to compete with the next Coolest Web Site that comes along. It means they'll either overhaul their site so they CAN change it quickly, or they'll get taken out when that next site shows up. You know, the one with the cooler features, the slimmer waist, and the banners that go WOOSH!

This isn't a matter of being snooty about web standards. It's a matter of understanding what the standards are for, and why they're important. Can MySpace continue to compete? Sure! They have too much momentum to disappear any time soon, and I would presume that translates into generating enough revenue to be able to hack together solutions, or even to do the overhaul they really need. It's just: their current codebase is a vulnerability. It's not insurmountable, it's not spelling out their doom, but it does make them less competitive. That's all. And those of us who write code for a living tend to wince when a big product is vulnerable due to something we all know better than to do.

Re:Why is it so hard? (1)

Guy Harris (3803) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636768)

(normal people) don't give a dead rat's ass about CSS, DOM, XHTML, microformats, "mashups" or any of that other stuff that the self-appointed standards nannies of teh interwebs have decided everyone should observe closely or face death

Normal people shouldn't have to care about them; normal people setting up Web pages should have software (whether it's on their machine or on their server) that lets them use something simpler than Full Frontal HTML to set up the page.

But that's not what the article was complaining about, as far as I can tell; it was complaining about the ugliness of the design of a lot of MySpace pages. I suspect you can create butt-ugly pages that conform to all W3C "implementation" standards. And, yes, that's probably the price they pay for being MySpace.

The Semantic MySpace (2, Insightful)

WarwickRyan (780794) | more than 7 years ago | (#17637106)

Surely it'd be better to start with information which is understandable by humans before we put energies into making the nonesense machine readable? ;-)

Re:Why is it so hard? (1)

ganjadude (952775) | more than 7 years ago | (#17637272)

Any of the official myspace pages for bands are set up well. Why is that? Because someone who knows more than "fill out this box" and your done is setting it up. Some band sites out there look really well, easy to read, flashy but not tacky and the info you want is usually right there.

I only wish they would stop the autoload on the music the embedded music is the biggest problem IMO with load time

*note* I am talking about the 1/2 of the sites maintained by bands, not the 1/2 made by fans

Re:Why is it so hard? (1)

DaveG, the Quantum P (664195) | more than 7 years ago | (#17637410)

The thing is, you kind of counter-argued yourself. It is correct that most people don't know and don't care about HTML/CSS/DOM stuff, and THAT IS PRECISELY WHY MYSPACE ARE AT FAULT. Myspace made it so that that *had to* handle with HTML/CSS code, even if you didn't know what it all meant. Had they made a smarter customisation interface, we wouldn't have all the horrible browswer crashing profiles that Myspace has precisely because a lot of users don't know what they're doing.

Normal people? (1)

plopez (54068) | more than 7 years ago | (#17637660)

(normal people) don't give a dead rat's ass about CSS, DOM, XHTML, microformats, "mashups" or any of that other stuff

You must be pretty clueless, this is slashdot. Where 'normal people' are in short supply.

Hmmm... there ought to be a t-shirt "/. where normal people are in short supply", sell it on 'ThinkGeek'. Size XXL and XXXL only....

Re:Why is it so hard? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17638146)

Clearly, you have never had to customize a MySpace page before. MySpace makes it unspeakably hard to customize a page without the help of a third-party code generator.

Blah... (2, Interesting)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636336)

Informative article but no pretty pictures. I want to see if they got their shtick together in the server room. Is it nice and orderly like a sterile hospital ward, or haphazard with wires strung all over the place like a college dorm room? Inquiring minds want to know...

Re:Blah... (3, Funny)

owlnation (858981) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636614)

I was personally surprised to see no mention of where they keep the ponies and glitter. I was sure that was how they ran of their technology. Must be a industrial secret...

Google. (4, Interesting)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636408)

I want everyone to remember that when Google came out, there were quite a few well-known search engines out already. Google was simply better enough than the others that it took over.

If anyone is reading this, and has the resources to do it -- or maybe has some 20% time at Google -- the only real solution to MySpace (other than praying that they fix it themselves) is to offer a competing service that is so ridiculously much better than MySpace that it will do what Google did. Anyone remember Facebook? In college, not a single person used MySpace, yet everyone was in Facebook -- if Facebook was open to the public (not just people in school), it would likely kick MySpace's ass around the block.

Re:Google. (5, Insightful)

vasqzr (619165) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636454)

In college, not a single person used MySpace, yet everyone was in Facebook -- if Facebook was open to the public (not just people in school), it would likely kick MySpace's ass around the block.

I believe it is open now.

Do you really want the people on MySpace taking over Facebook?

Re:Google. (1)

Proud like a god (656928) | more than 7 years ago | (#17637800)

Seems to be, 'though as a graduated UK resident, I can't join my uni class year as my email addy's inactive now.

At least the myspace lot can't ruin the neat layout of FaceBook.

Re:Google. (3, Informative)

Cairnarvon (901868) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636572)

Facebook has been open to the general public for months, much to its old userbase's dismay. They introduced the no-network and the regional accounts last September somewhere, IIRC.

Re:Google. (1)

dominion (3153) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636590)


Ultimately a system which is based uses open standards for interoperability, while balancing ease of use for the user, will win out over all of them.

With social networking, we're in the early days, much like when Prodigy, AOL, and Compuserve all had competing services which refused to cooperate. And in the end, Email won out over all of them.

Google & 20% time (3, Insightful)

remmelt (837671) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636688)

You mean like Orkut?

Re:Google. (1)

Kuxman (876286) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636838)

Facebook HAS opened to the real world. http://www.facebook.com/ [facebook.com]

Re:Google. (1)

mongoose(!no) (719125) | more than 7 years ago | (#17637812)

I'd consider my friends to be the slightly more intelligent type, but for the most part we all switched to Facebook after we got to college. The lack of customization on Facebook makes it easier to read other people's profiles and it has (had) better privacy controls than Myspace. I deleted my Myspace account a few weeks ago because I had not used it in several months.

Re:Google. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17638190)

Facebook is open to the public. Also, what is this about remembering Facebook? It is way more popular at the University I am at than Myspace is. Everyone has Facebook here.

Product Placement (1)

CrankyOldFart (1052008) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636516)

In my opinion MySpace's success is due in large part to strategic product placement style advertising in television and movies popular amongst their target demographic.

The kids don't care if its buggy or ugly, if its on TV and in the movies, then it must be cool.

Re:Product Placement (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 7 years ago | (#17637168)

myspace got huge beofore it was in movies and on TV.

Doesn't surprise me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17636638)

Myspace is a cesspool full of self-important, attention whoring bargain basement people. It's this generation's Geocities, complete with the brain meltingly offensive designs but enhanced with the ability to connect with more self-important attention whoring bargain basement people. It's practically a microcosm of the internet as a whole, wrapped up in one ugly centralized location.

Retrieving comment... (5, Funny)

awing0 (545366) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636728)

Sorry! an unexpected error has occurred.

This error has been forwarded to Slashdot's technical group.

I gave in (1)

Drakin020 (980931) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636734)

It's funny just a few nights ago I gave into the My space fad. Not just to be cool or something but to find some old friends I knew from high school. I was nearly slamming my mouse into the wall because the website was so unstable. I thought "Sure I'll write my first blog about the icy weather here in Waco" It took me nearly an hour just to try and post it. The farking Unexpected error came up more than I can count. When allow as said and done it posted the article like 30 times...So then I get to try and delete the 29 articles that I don't want there...Yeah needless to say it was a nightmare. It was hell. I don't see how others manage to put up with it.

Examples of horrible MySpace design? (4, Interesting)

TerranFury (726743) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636842)

I keep hearing references to horribly designed myspace profiles. For the benefit of those Slashdotters who haven't see this dreck, please post your most egregious examples in reply.

Re:Examples of horrible MySpace design? (1)

Dan Farina (711066) | more than 7 years ago | (#17637024)

Choose randomly.

I do remember posts in the past exposing particular anti-exemplar examples -- I would direct you to your favorite search engine to find similar such links.

Re:Examples of horrible MySpace design? (1)

GiovanniZero (1006365) | more than 7 years ago | (#17637122)

I would but my core-duo can't handle processing 1000 animated gifs, 27 videos that start simultaneously and the 13 songs that also start at the same time.



I tried three times but my computer crashed everytime...

But, if you're still curious here [gthing.net] is a write-up about myspace, both page design and the people behind it.

Re:Examples of horrible MySpace design? (3, Interesting)

hyperizer (123449) | more than 7 years ago | (#17638096)

MOD PARENT DOWN!! (3, Funny)

adamofgreyskull (640712) | more than 7 years ago | (#17638202)

For the love of god! MOD PARENT DOWN!

amazed. (2, Funny)

mulcher (241014) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636998)

I am amazed it runs on Windows and does as well as it does.

Runs Pretty Bad (2, Informative)

madsheep (984404) | more than 7 years ago | (#17637092)

Now I do not run a website that gets millions of hits a day, so maybe I am not one to speak -- but MySpace IMO is pretty poor. If you have ever used it, you must be familiar with its inability to accurately track sessions and frequently mistakenly log you out. Not to mention if you use it for an period of time you will generally fail to reach your intended page multiple times with a plethora of possible errors or blank screens. If this was a service people paid for, it would have no users. However, since it's become one of the number one de facto social stop (and it's FREE) it manages to keep the subscriber base.

I am not complaining as I could honestly careless.. but it runs very very poorly.

Re:Runs Pretty Bad (1)

shodai (970706) | more than 7 years ago | (#17637694)

I am not complaining as I could honestly careless..
Couldn't. Could not. Could not. Couldn't. Couldn't care less.

Not to be a douchebag, but this is right up there with people spelling "lose" with two Os.

Re:Runs Pretty Bad (1)

phasm42 (588479) | more than 7 years ago | (#17637696)

...as I could honestly careless...
That should be "as I could honestly not care less" or "as I honestly could not care less". This is one of those things that is often written/read wrong since you rarely see it in print.

63,114,796 U.S. unique visitors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17637250)

MySpace.com hit 63,114,796 U.S. unique visitors in December alone.
Chart: http://snapshot.compete.com/myspace.com?int=1032 [compete.com]

Professional wrestling is popular too... (2, Insightful)

haggie (957598) | more than 7 years ago | (#17637266)

...but that doesn't mean I feel the need to attend a WWE event.

Another goal for Myspace to achieve (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17637294)

Fair and just copyright of materials according to international laws. It makes me sick that it is all going into Rupert's pockets. Musicians (and other artists) don't realise that they are effectively signing their rights and ownership away. Why should MySpace be all about raising profits for Rupert? MySpace should be about making money for its members also. It is a form of marketplace as well afterall...

Quite simply, spam. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17637500)

Look at the comments on MySpace pages. How often do you see spam?

Now consider telling these people to use email and blogs to communicate. You will launch into a discussion of email hygene, how to cope with email and comment spam, etiquette, etc.

If you know little or nothing about computers, which would you choose?

Well, (2, Insightful)

somethinghollow (530478) | more than 7 years ago | (#17637668)

It certainly wouldn't be any less popular if it wasn't buggy. What's happened is that MySpace somehow managed to carve a space in the collective conscious. So, it's the place people go in the US to do social networking. People just deal with the fact that it's buggy because that is the place where you go. It's kind of like people use Windows because that is the only OS they know (or like AIM, etc.). They don't know of anything better, and even if they did, their friends probably wouldn't know of it / use it. MySpace could improve the user experience, but they likely won't until someone starts sucking people out of MySpace and into something better.

Good read... I was there. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17637750)

This is a pretty good article, and accurate too. I was one of maybe 20 people that went to this presentation at the SQL Server Connections Conference last November, and this article summarizes what was covered... and then some.

Nerdy as it was, most of us didn't want to leave the room once it was over because it was such interesting stuff, plus we got to ask the MySpace people direct questions.

I left thinking it was a shame that so few people saw this (out of the thousands of people that went to the conference, not to mention the general web world), so I'm glad to see this summary of the information.

- Jon

i think it's great (1)

cjdkoh (991723) | more than 7 years ago | (#17637928)

myspace can be annoying at times. i don't tend to look at other people's profiles anymore, but when I do, I use the "de-uglify" button in Toolbar MS for firefox. i personally like the site. it's a great way to keep up with old and current friends, and make new ones. i actually found my girlfriend on myspace. 2.3 months and still going strong!

Re:i think it's great (1)

thebigbluecheez (1010821) | more than 7 years ago | (#17638196)

I would be greatly indebted to you if you would be so kind as to tell me how to add the "de-uglify" button, or where I can access it. a quick search of themes, plugins and addons for FF2 reveals nothing called "Toolbar MS" Thanks.

also: 2.3 months?

tips for browsing myspace (3, Informative)

vindimy (941049) | more than 7 years ago | (#17638172)

1) Use Firefox (more secure) with pop-up blocker
2) Use Adblock plugin for Firefox (blocks most ads) with auto filter updating
3) Use Flashblock for Firefox (blocks most movies and survivor ads)
4) Block CSS/JavaScript if your eyes hurt or you're getting dizzy
5) Use Web Developer toolbar for Firefox if you need more control
6) Get a 13-year-old to translate the pages for you (old people hack)

Enjoy
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