Tagworld Takes on MySpace

Given the breakneck growth and millions of Murdoch’s dollars at its disposal, it is even hearsay to ask the question: Can MySpace be upstaged?

Fred Krueger and Evan Rifkin think, no, believe its possible, and their self-funded, six month old start-up, Tagworld will be the one to bring down the giant. However, ridiculous it may seem, the goliath has been slain before. The Facebook and MySpace came out of nowhere and lapped the early social networking leader, Friendster. The roots for Krueger and Rifkin’s ebullience can be linked to David Hornik’s theory on Social Networking 3.0.

Social networks are becoming an important ingredient of all sorts of consumer experiences. Social networks inform the conversations that take place among friends on LiveJournal. Social networks enable the discovery of new music on MySpace.

The Santa Monica, California-based company has built an updated version of MySpace, and incorporates some of the Web 2.0 must-have technologies such as ajax and tags, blogging, social networking, social bookmarking and RSS. The service is expected to go live tomorrow.

Krueger, chief executive of the company says that while there are many discrete services out there, (such as Flickr and Blogger) it is difficult for those non-techies to cobble together a perfect personal page. In other words, they took everything that’s hot, and put it into a blender, and came up with a mass-market offering. Will this “remix” be too much for the mass market, especially when compared to folksy simplicity of MySpace?

Tagworld is making music the core of its strategy. The company will initially offer a gigabyte of online storage space for music, and will upgrade the capacity in the near future. Users can upload their own music to their online locker, and will be able to access that music over broadband anywhere, not just on their home computers.

Tagworld is also working with musical acts (it is signed up nearly 300 acts such as The Shins and The Postal Service thus far) which can upload specific tracks that Tagworld members can add to their playlists. Users can add their playlist to their Tagworld page, from where it can be streamed via a flash-based player. The artists will also be able to access details such as how many times a song has been played, or added to a playlist. Of course consumers can simply use that space to store and share photos. Rifkin believes access to this specific information is going to make Tagworld more attractive to record labels and indie artists.

“We think the MySpace hasn’t improved very much,” says Rifkin, “And that is our opportunity.” Krueger and Rifkin believe that their true competition is MSN Spaces and Yahoo 360, since they are two services that have all the elements of what Tagworld is trying to achieve. The service has a cleaner interface, comes with more storage space, and has many more features when compared to MySpace. Will that be enough to get people to switch from their social networking environment?