MySpace's Hail Mary Strategy: "Discovery"

MySpace’s new slogan, and the theme of their new product strategy, will be “Discover and be Discovered,” we’ve confirmed from multiple sources. This will be their differentiating factor from Facebook, execs told employees at an all hands meeting last Thursday.

The meeting was called in the wake of the firing of CEO Owen Van Natta and the related promotions of Mike Jones and Jason Hirschhorn to co-presidents. The meeting, which was held in the courtyard of MySpace’s Los Angeles headquarters to accomodate 600 or employees, was also broadcast to other offices around the world.

The meeting began, say sources, with a discussion of the drama around the company over the last several weeks. Parent company News Corp’s Digital Chief Jon Miller apparently didn’t mince words, saying that Van Natta wasn’t moving fast enough and that there was too much conflict among the executive team. Hirschhorn also denied rumors that he ever considered leaving the company, which is contrary to the statements of about a dozen sources who’ve said the opposite to us.

Miller also reiterated News Corp.’s commitment to MySpace and outlined how the co-president structure will work. “They get along really well,” he reportedly said. Hirschhorn handles product vision, Jones handles execution.

More importantly, MySpace’s go forward vision was presented to employees, say our sources, and it was all about a single feature thrust that they’re calling “Discovery.”

The idea is to hit users over the head with new stuff when they come to MySpace. New people they should be meeting. Movie trailers they should watch. Games they may want to play (perhaps against other MySpace users), music they should listen to, articles they should read. Etc. The activity stream that MySpace recently launched will be the backbone of Discovery, but other MySpace products will feed into this as well.

If they get this right, the thinking goes, people will want to visit the site over and over again to see what new stuff they can do.

This is effectively a recommendation engine around new content, says one source, but MySpace doesn’t want people calling it that. Still, the idea is that an algorithm (and advertisers) will determine what stuff you might like (or tolerate, in the case of ads) based on what other users are liking.

The goal is to give users something to do on MySpace that’s somewhat different than Facebook. And get them to come back often.