The dangers of proprietary promotion

At, Joe Taylor tells a cautionary tale with a happy ending about a band called Bones who almost lost their MySpace profile, complete with history and friends aplenty, to Fox TV, who wanted it to promote a new TV show also called Bones. As he points out, while this story ended ok (the band got to keep the screen name):

it’s another reminder that promoting someone else’s domain name on your printed material and press kit is an invitation to disaster. [...] MySpace’s terms of service indicate that they can — and will — take back your screen name if they want to. It’s really nice to hear that they stuck up for a member this time, but you can’t guarantee that they’ll do it again.

And, for all the folks that think MySpace is never going anywhere, ask the senior members of your favorite music business bulletin boards what it was like when vanished after it was purchased by an international media conglomerate. (Some folks are still stinging from that one.)

It’s such a good point. The more we build our online personaes and social networks through sites that other people own, the more vulnerable we are to changes in their ownership, design, vision, or even existence. We can be thrown off without reason or recourse. We can be erased through some bug and we don’t have the backup to reload. All kinds of nasty things can happen. We extend an incredible amount of trust in their goodwill and faith in the Computer Gods who make them work.

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