UPDATED 14:16 EST / MARCH 31 2009

MySpace and Citysearch: Yelp Competitor or Yet Another Stab at Local?

image MySpace and Citysearch, according to the screaming headlines over at Mashable and Techcrunch today, are teaming up to challenge Yelp with the creation of “MySpace Local.”

This is one of those trademark MySpace moves that has a real potential to revive the usability of the site, but is simply just not a sexy move, one that inspires very little interest amongst the reviewers in the blogosphere. It’s an odd dichotomy. 

I’m probably one of the last few folks in my technology social circles, aside from Marc Canter, to admit that he still maintains a MySpace account. My wife is pretty active on the service, and quite a few of our mutual friends use it exclusively. The culture of the site, as such, is a local site, geographically.  Chances are, the people you talk to on MySpace are within a few minutes of you driving distance.

It would make sense, then, that the forums and content areas designed to augment localized content would be pretty hopping.  In my experience, all locality based content has been fairly underused, and the classifieds system is a pale shadow of what you can find on a more well known system like Craigslist.

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Most of the pundits are focused on how the service will be monetized, and how much integrity it will maintain, particularly in the face of Yelps credibility crisis (as they face accusations of a blackmail based business model).

My thoughts are more focused around whether this will succeed for MySpace where previous attempts to focus on local have failed.  Certainly, they’ve always had a sufficient userbase to theoretically support this idea, but they’ve never been able to pull it off. The reason behind this may be the reason I mentioned at the beginning of this article – the premise fails to impress.

It sounds cool, in theory, an answer to Yelp powered by the massive hoard of MySpace minions. In practice – this, like so many other attempts before it – it’s just simply rehashed attempts. 

The first commenter at the Mashable writeup had a similar reaction: “ Two losers make a winner, right?  I was hoping for much more from the relaunched CitySearch a few weeks ago, but it’s just a new visual design on the same, old, problematic data.”

Am I off-base?  Usually, whenever I do a post that’s less than favorable to MySpace, I get an avalanche of folks who vehemently disagree.  I’m curious to hear your thoughts.  Participate here in the comments.


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