MySpace is not Web 2.0

Ruby Red Ajax

I’ve put aside my dislike of the term “Web 2.0″ because I do like a lot of the technologies and ideas that are encompassed by the term. It’s too bad marketers picked up on it the way they did; I don’t think it was meant to be used that way at all.

As is often the case when a new buzzword comes along, people start using when they really don’t seem to understand what it was intended to mean. You get new sites and services claiming to be “web 2.0″ when all they actually did was throw in a few rounded corners and a yellow fade (kind of like the way some sites claim to use AJAX when they’re really just using standard, run-of-the-mill JavaScript menuing or something).

The most glaring example of this that I’ve seen is MySpace. I’ve seen MySpace described as a Web 2.0 application in a number of places now, from a recent SFgate article to the Web 2.0 logo collage that’s been making the rounds the past few days.

MySpace seems, to me, to be the very antitheses of what “web 2.0″ is all about. It’s an artificial social network (owned by Fox, no less) when organic, decentralized ones are sprouting up all over the place. It’s a walled garden, while everyone else is promoting the open sharing of information and content. And at a time when web sites are moving toward cleaner, more usable designs, we get stuff like this (granted, an end-user is responsible for that atrocity, but MySpace certainly could enforce some usability and accessibility guidelines on their users).

A read through their terms of service should dispel this “web 2.0″ notion pretty quickly.

unauthorized framing of or linking to the Website will be investigated

“Unauthorized linking”? Maybe someone should explain to them how the web works if they believe there is such a thing.

You may not include in your Member profile any telephone numbers, street addresses, last names, URLs or email addresses.
MySpace.com reserves the right to restrict the number of emails which a Member may send to other Members in any 24-hour period to a number which MySpace.com deems appropriate in its sole discretion.

Well, this pretty much throws the idea of communication right out the window, doesn’t it? Oh, you can still communicate with other MySpace users, as long as you use their system to do it, and only then as long as you don’t do it too much. Keeping people confined to a single playground is the very definition of a walled garden. Remember when AOL users couldn’t send e-mail to non-AOL addresses?

By posting any Content to the public areas of the Website, you hereby grant to MySpace.com the non-exclusive, fully paid, worldwide license to use, publicly perform, publicly display, modify, and translate such Content on the Website.

For contrast, compare this to the terms of use on Flickr, a service that actually is user- and community-oriented.