Headline of the day: “News Corp May Have Found God, But Not LinkedIn”

TechCrunch reports on reports that Murdoch is buying BeliefNet.

What I find amusing about BeliefNet is it is so non-denominational that I am always a little surprised when I find any mention of The Big Kahuna. The site’s motto is “Inspiration. Spirituality. Faith.” Kind of the reverse order that most religious types would put those in but perfect for today’s scripturally squeamish consumers. The most emailed article on the site today is Chocolate Is Not The Enemy. This is a selection that appears under the wonderful tag: Weight Loss and Diet Inspiration From The Best of Chicken Soup For The Soul. Does anyone else think that the more chicken soup you have in your diet the less weight loss and diet inspiration you might need?

Looking at BeliefNet it is easy to imagine even a Universalist Unitarian complain about the lack of doctrinal rigor.

This is in marked contrast to my current favorite site for mixing religion and the internet: Mecca.com. Although this site doesn’t mention The Big Kahuna either, it seems to me that this is because they believe it’s wrong to associate You Know Who with a commercial enterprise rather than a desire to appeal to everybody.

While I would like to say I like this site because it helps people connect and find out what they have in common in a nice Muslim context, that would be a lie. As their mission statement shows the is lie by me … not them.

“Mecca.com offers a point of solidarity for online Muslims worldwide. Our goal is to promote and reinforce an inspiring, positive image of the strong values that Muslims bring to their respective communities everywhere. At mecca.com, we help Muslims everywhere come closer to achieving their own personal dreams – whatever they may be. Together, anything is possible.”

logomNo, my real reason for liking the site is that is has The. Best. Tagline. EVER: Come to Mecca.


(Maybe there’s someone there who can help me understand The Qu’ran. I tried to read it on my own a few years ago and quickly realized this is not a text I could make sense of without an instructor. I suspect I would have had the same reaction to the Old and New Testaments had I not grown up in a culture so infused with them.)

BTW, if you’re looking for a “holiday” gift for your “spiritually” minded friends may I suggest that you Reserve A Spot In Heaven for them. A mere $12.79 (?) guarantees him or her

BULLET Heavenly issued certificate of reservation with a unique I.D. number registered in the Book of Light™

BULLET A First class ticket to Heaven. Why walk those stairs when you can fly?

BULLET The Official Heaven Identification Card so you can get around without getting hassled.

BULLET Heaven 101 mini informational guide. Don’t be a victim of culture shock. Get acquainted with the land.

BTW, group discounts are available.

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Old school marketing makes MySpace launch music tour & clothes line

NewsCorp is apparently determined to wring every last short-term dollar it can out of MySpace. That’s why we now have MySpace clothes and music. This seems a classic example of bad brand extensions. It’s like the old school marketing types said, “well the kids are really into music and clothes!” But is there one type of music and clothes that appeal to “the kids”?

myspaceThe community features an all new look, and a host of new programming such as MySpace Presents: The Fit, MySpace Muse presented by Who Wear What Daily, InStyle News and a collection of amateur and professional fashion videos from runway shows and MySpaceTV. You’ll also be able to see featured designers, profiles, and videos.

As a brand, MySpace’s core value is about creating your own identity. A better fit, if you will pardon the pun, in clothes would have been a line of DIY kits and such. Instead we get very typical marketing think that’s just about putting the brand on anything that might vaguely seem appropriate. The thinking is all about what customers will buy right now and not what they will respond to over the long run.

I have no doubt that Mr. Murdoch & co. will make some fast money but this — along with the gross amount of commercial placement on the site — will kill it. They don’t seem to have much interest in anything besides selling ads to companies that want to connect with the people who use their site. That means they are losing touch with the people who are actually using the site and made it into what it is — or was.

WebProNews reports on an IDC study supporting my point:

“Social networks cannot guarantee a brand-safe environment. Advertisers don’t want to see their ads displayed alongside illicit content, for example,” says Karsten Weide, program director of IDC’s Digital Marketplace: Media and Entertainment. “The dilemma for social networks is if they start to control what content users can post, they will lose popularity, which is what attracted advertisers in the first place.”

And there’s this from the essential Jeremiah Owyang:

Myspace’s younger demographic rates are decreasing says this Business Week’s July 07 report: “but U.S. visitors under 18 to MySpace dropped 30 percent over the past year, while Facebook’s rose about 2 1/2 times”

This is definitely MySpace’s jump the shark moment.

(Wow, that was waaay too well informed. I promise a return to the usual lack of info ASAP.)