Several months ago, we noted that something wasn't adding up when it came to MySpace. Ostensibly they are one of the most viewed sites on the internet, yet their ability to pull in revenues seems almost pitifully poor. This became the subject of much chatter this weekend, as The New York Times pondered the same question. According to one web designer, at issue is the MySpace's design, which produces a large number of extra page views each time a user accesses the site. With a superior interface, the user might get the same experience with a third (or less) page views. Advertisers understand that a lot of the page views are redundant, thus explaining why they're not will to pay too much for ad impressions -- giving MySpace a reported 10-cent average CPM. What isn't clear is whether the company would be better off improving the site's usability. Undoubtedly they'd improve their CPM, but it might be at the expense of their stature as a top-ten internet destination -- something that's helped fuel a lot of their hype. Some publishers have openly stated that they won't adopt more efficient design techniques, out of fear of reducing their ad impressions, and thus revenues. Ultimately, this seems like a bad strategy. Nobody likes a cab driver that takes the scenic route, just to drive up the fare. Eventually, people will gravitate to sites with superior usability. It's better to become one of those, than to foist bogus page views on the users and advertisers.
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