Josh Kornbluth, the monologuist and KQED host, has posted an account of a Kafkaesque experience with MySpace that should give any operator of an online business pause.
It seems that some malicious person posted a phony profile under Josh’s name, filled the profile page with gross porn, and then sent Josh’s superiors at KQED outraged emails demanding that he be fired. Josh’s posting offers a painfully vivid account of how hard it can be to attempt to communicate directly with a company that has chosen to make itself unavailable to the public.
MySpace’s meteoric rise is legendary, of course (it claims 70 million users these days). The company is in the crosshairs of the online decency brigade, under pressure from its new corporate owners (Rupert Murdoch) to clean up its act and open new revenue streams, and in constant danger of losing whatever buzz it possesses to whichever site is next on the fickle teen radar.
Still: If you’re doing business, you have to make it possible for human beings to get in touch with your company. Online enterprises always want to shunt all communications into online channels, but, you know, if someone was impersonating you, framing you as a perv and then trying to get you fired, you might want a phone number to call, too.
Maybe MySpace hasn’t consciously chosen to make it hard for people to get in touch with it; maybe it’s just overwhelmed by success. Either way, if Josh’s tale is any indication, it seems pretty clear that MySpace has lost control of its pages — and begun what will doubtless be a meteoric slide into a swamp of spam, phony pages and scammy crap.
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