Mergers, crossovers, partnerships—they’re all indicative of one principle: cooperation. From a purely business-oriented standpoint, it’s absolutely necessary. Cooperation with one entity or another can help to form the backbone of a company’s market stability. It can strengthen the solvency of all parties involved and help to ensure that resources don’t get spread too thin.
The digital landscape is certainly no exception—the same business principles apply. Website interrelationships are commonplace, as are websites’ affiliations with larger or more reputable organizations. Websites that are linked to one another often share a wealth of internet traffic between them in relative harmony, and while certain relationships might be more harmonious or successful than others, the concept is sound.
What’s interesting is that, in our uncertain times, partnerships of this nature (especially on the web) are becoming more and more of a necessity.
Most notably, MySpace has recently launched a new function that allows users to import their Facebook profile into their existing page in order to personalize their entertainment content based on their “likes” and “interests” on Facebook. It’s a bold and controversial move on the part of MySpace’s chief executive, Mike Jones, who claims that the new function—referred to as “Mashup with Facebook”—is intended to be a key measure in shifting the site’s focus from being a traditional networking hub to a more entertainment-based publishing site. In a recent interview with The Telegraph, Jones acknowledges that “MySpace is a not a social network anymore. It is now a social entertainment destination.”
Market analysts naturally presume that the once prevailing network has finally admitted defeat, in a manner of speaking, and that MySpace’s new integration feature is emblematic of its loss to Facebook in the online war for network supremacy. Is it better to be at the devil’s right hand than in his path? Or is the move a genuine effort to change MySpace’s purpose for the better? In any case, the integration can’t really hurt them. The almighty Book of Faces recently boasted a “growth rate of 55.2% year-over-year,” in a report by Mashable.
Cooperation, in the case MySpace and Facebook, is ultimately a tricky road to traverse. While it will likely help the former company to better promote its revamped purpose, it’s also a necessary evil for them. Hopefully, in the months to come, the partnership won’t be misconstrued as one party’s subservience to another.
A more recent (and similar) crossover has occurred between Ping and Twitter. Apple’s music-centric networking alternative, Ping, now allows users to instantly transfer their activity to their Twitter feed. For example, if a Ping user “likes” or “reviews” a specific song or artist, that particular action is “tweeted” instantaneously, and the tweet will even contain “playable song previews and links to purchase and download music from iTunes,” according to one article. Again, the cooperative effort is more of a promotional strategy on Apple’s part. Will riding Twitter’s coattail for the time being ensure Apple’s effectiveness in promoting Ping? We’ll see.
Of course, video-rental monolith Netflix has seen enormous success in their campaign for continued brand expansion, exploring just about avenue of distribution under the sun. To date, they’ve partnered with innumerous mobile phone and Blu-Ray manufacturers as well as established media giants including—but not limited to—Apple, Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, TiVo, the Easter Bunny and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Their legal staff is reportedly in talks with God to acquire the exclusive rights to the human brain and initiate Netflix connectivity at birth, thereby allowing human beings to stream all thirty-seven seasons of Grey’s Anatomy directly from the mind’s eye. But we’ll still have to add Dexter to our DVD queues.
In the years to come, we’ll likely see recurrent examples of the trend. Brand expansion and promotion is easily achievable through crossovers and partnerships. What are your thoughts on the matter?