Mobile internet access is hot at the moment, from the iPhone through to T-Mobile’s New Sidekicks (maybe not so hot, but you can see CrunchGear’s coverage here), so you’d think MySpace would be providing unfettered mobile access to its user base? Wrong.
In Australia, mobile phone users not using the Optus mobile network have been blocked from accessing the new MySpace mobile site, being re-directed instead to the main MySpace page, which is even more unusable on a mobile than it is on a normal computer.
Optus has an exclusive provider contract with MySpace, and they are apparently not alone: the practice is widespread globally with MySpace blocking access from non-provider mobile phones in major markets, including we would presume the United States, although we are unable to confirm that at this time.
As I sit here browsing Facebook via the amazing Facebook iPhone site (oddly enough over the Optus network), I can’t help but ask the question: is MySpace Insane? Are they trying to milk every last cent out of the site before they are defeated by the ever popular Facebook, which I’d note have just passed MySpace by traffic in the United Kingdom. A sane strategy would be to provide easy access to as many people as possible, strengthening and growing your user base in an increasingly mobile world. Revenue would flow as a conseqeunce of having more users, instead of banning potentially the majority of them.
The mobile operators are presuming that users will take up their services to access MySpace which could work, but I can’t see millions of people switching because of it.
Although MySpace users miss out under this model, the biggest loser of all is MySpace. Greed isn’t good when you put profit before users, and denied access to MySpace via their mobile phones users will take their business elsewhere.