Yeah, I kinda MySpaced out for a while... Not because I was looking for a ton of pretend friends, but real ones. It's been cool reconnecting with old friends too. But apparently MySpace has succumbed to the Popularity Syndrome. Similar to what Digg has been having, where the demand for content has outstripped the server resources. Kevin Rose was on This Week in Tech recently, and discussed his VC funding, and how it'll mean more servers to handle that capacity.
What is MySpace doing? News Corp recently bought MySpace, so you'd think all that money would go to server space. Maybe it is, I don't know. What I do know is that the site is often broken in several places, and IM and chat are offline... EMBED's were off a week or so ago...
Which brings me to my suggestion for "Tom" the guy you're supposed to pitch ideas to, the guy who can "help" you. The guy who currently won't allow me to email him because he's "away" and will "be back real soon." Har har.
My suggestions for MySpace:
1. Quit with the damn videos on profile pages. Seriously, this is a major SUCK in my book. Have a Vids page or something
2. Your interface is shit. Sorry to be so blunt, but bulletins, blogs, mail, classifieds, etc. There's too much going on and none of it makes sense from a UI standpoint. It's bad enough when I have some eyeball-splitting checkered and Betty Page background going on, with black on grey text, with animated gif's shouting at me all over the place. Those template suck, 99% of them. Customization is fine, but make your interface more pleasant to use. Mac compatibility won't hurt either.
3. Here's the big one, the one that could save MySpace from implosion: move into the 21st century.
What do I mean? Ditch ColdFusion on the backend. It apparently doesn't scale well enough for your needs. Try PHP or Python. WIN uses PHP, and I don't see Engadget hurting too bad. (Yes, they've had server issues lately, but very few related to load on the database, more like crappy Windows patches)
Also, there's this thing called Ajax... Look into it. Despite being "trendy" it could actually save you some bandwidth. Having to post comments means traversing pages. Sending mail, or many other important communications tasks takes you through several pages, all of which are full loads. Sure, that's more opportunities for ads, but ads on pages where there's nothing but a "back" button are pretty damn useless. I'm guessing your clickthroughs on those pages are abysmal.
Imagine being able to leave a comment on a friend's profile, and just seeing it appear, without the whole page having to reload. Pretty swanky, eh? Easy to do as well.
Email, or "messages" are atrocious. Again, I know you want to allow customization and whatnot, but how about a threaded view? How about more than a couple on a page at a time? How about a bloody search (guess that won't help the db tho).
That's just the tip of the iceberg. I doubt Tom will ever hear about it, nor do I expect to be consulted. Fine. Just sucks that MySpace sucks. As popular as it is, I think it'd draw millions within months by taking my advice...
one man's journey into creating gibblybits