Everyone is a Frenemy

In this new open web world, where the cost of rolling out services is remarkably low, and eyeballs are the currency, everyone is a frenemy. Friends of today are enemies of tomorrow. Enemies of today are tomorrow’s friends.

noltemurphy.jpgA perfect example is the relationship between YouTube and MySpace. The Rupert Murdoch-owed social megapolis was the reason why YouTube became popular and had a $1.6 billion payday.

Today, the word is that MySpace is launching its own video service, to compete with YouTube. Remember Photobucket and MySpace, who were friends, then enemies and then friends again – once Rupert signed a check for $250 million. Of course we all very well know the Google-eBay relationship, that seems like an episode out of Dallas.

MySpace and by extension, News Corp., are perfect practitioners of the art of frenemity. They take Google’s money with one hand, then launch a disaster-waiting-to-happen, the NewCo, to compete with Google. And now these new video plans!

It is good to see MySpace trying to stem the gradual decay in the traffic growth of their current video offerings, but I wonder if the name-change, MySpace Videos to MySpace TV is really going to stem the losses.

Nevertheless, getting back to the original premise of the story – frenemies. Some of our readers, especially the ones with gray in their beards, might remember an old fashioned word that did the rounds in late 1990s: coopetition. Its sort of like that, except has a higher degree of desperation.

A few months ago, Robert Young had asked the question: Will MySpace erect tollbooths? They sure are building their own freeways. MySpace (and others) are going to resort to competing with partners more often because sooner or later they will have to face the harsh reality: every business (unless stated otherwise) is a for profit business.