Myspace Blackmails People With Embarrassing Old Photos, Because It Really, Really Wants Them Back
Remember Myspace? That social networking site from the days when your profile name was Ch3micalRom@nce and you were friends with 3,500 people you'd never met? Well, it's still around, and now it wants you back. The predecessor to Facebook is now using your embarrassing old Myspace photos from its database to lure you back in, which some have straight-up called blackmail. The most surprising bit of this whole thing is that Myspace still exists.
Over the weekend, thousands of old and current members received a mysterious email from the company with the subject line "Your Photos Are Back!" (And by current members, they mean people who were too lazy to delete their accounts, which have been sitting there on the Internet collecting dust like your old rap-rock CD collection.) The body of the emails contained one or two old photos of the user, along with the line "The good, the rad and the what were you thinking..." and a link that directs them to their profile.
What's that smell? Why yes, it is the distinct odor of desperation. It's not even one of those straightforward, "cute for trying" attempts to be more cool or relevant, like when LinkedIn tried to target teens. Myspace's grasp for a second life is tinged with something ominous; these sudden emails feel more like ransom notes than a birthday invitation from that guy in the office with the porcelain figurines collection.
The 15 billion photos Myspace still has in its database (for reference, Facebook has 250 billion photos in its database) feels more like incriminating evidence than harmless reminders of more carefree (and careless) times. It all makes one feel a bit uneasy, like what exactly are you threatening to do with those photos if we don't reregister?
A Myspace spokesperson told Mashable, "Myspace has been reaching out to current and past users to re-engage them through a personalized experience."
In this case, the personalized experience just feels a little too personal. But this isn't the company's first attempt to reinvent itself. In 2011, Myspace was purchased by a California company called Specific Media, who relaunched it two years later as a music-oriented social media site. Justin Timberlake was an early investor, but even the wildly successful singer/actor/heartthrob hasn't been able to bring the site back from obscurity.
After a $20 million ad campaign, Myspace has been able to stay afloat as a go-to network for musicians and music fans, with 36 million users as of October 2013. However, the site no longer resembled the Myspace that emo kids once loved and used. It focused more on playing and sharing songs than selfies and wall comments — the relaunched Myspace even had an editorial component with music news and feature articles.
So this new re-relaunch seems to suggest that the company is circling back to its origins and rebranding the site as a traditional social networking site once again. But if they were hoping that its tactic of surprising users with old, embarrassing photos would work because of the nostalgia factor, they'd be sorely mistaken. It's way too soon, guys.
As we all cringe together at Myspace's new blackmail-ish campaign strategy, let's ponder in fear which pictures we might be seeing in our inboxes soon. The following would certainly top the list of way too soon and who else have you shown??
That Time You Had a Tongue Ring
That Time You Played Edward 40s Hands With Your Friend's Little Brother and His 21-Year-Old Friends (You Were 29)
That Time When Your Apartment Looked Like This
Images: TJ Ryan/Flickr; Alicia Lu/Facebook; Wikimedia Commons