MySpace unveiled its new messaging system late on Thursday night. Members can now use the formerly internal service to email others from an @myspace.com account.
Reactions have been pretty positive so far. Since the system is slowly rolling out in beta form over the next few weeks, hands-on reviews are hard to come by, but the design looks pretty good and people seem to agree that it may help reverse some of the site's well-publicised traffic stagnation.
Here are the numbers: MySpace says that nearly a fifth of its traffic is related to the messaging platform, and it has 130 million users worldwide. MySpace Mail can therefore enter the market as the fourth-largest email provider in the world. It also gives the News Corp-owned social network a leg up on Facebook, which has eclipsed it in traffic but still has a pretty rudimentary messaging system.
To suit its media-savvy young audience, MySpace Mail makes it easier than other email clients to attach music, video and picture files. Additionally, if you're contacting another MySpace member, an activity feed of that member's recent MySpace activity will appear in the right-hand sidebar. We wouldn't be surprised to see other email clients integrating such features in the future.
But will MySpace Mail shake up the industry? We don't think so. The problem for MySpace is uptake. The majority of its users probably have other email addresses that they already use, and switching over may be a complicated matter -- the hassle of changing address books, not to mention updating email lists and account subscriptions, means that people just don't change their addresses very often. And it doesn't have the invite-only allure or the power of a name like Google behind it that Gmail had when it launched in 2004.
Security's also an issue, given how well-publicised MySpace spam and worm problems have been over the years. The company says it is using "leading anti-spam technology and virus-scanning" in the overhauled messaging client.