Disney's Attempt To Create Their Own MySpace A Little Too Mickey Mouse

from the nice-try dept

What is it about big companies that they just can’t understand what makes the internet popular? They continue to think that it’s some sort of one-way broadcast medium (some sort of television with extra text on a computer), rather than a communications platform that lets everyone communicate with each other however they want. Yet, media companies still seem to believe that “interactivity” really means the very limited, and very controlled ability to comment on their broadcast content (or maybe click a link for “more” information). So, with the news coming out that Disney is trying to beat out MySpace with its own social network, it comes as no surprise that they’re doing so in an extremely limited way. There are a ton of parental controls. Chat rooms are limited (at times even to pre-selected phrases, apparently). And, users will be unable to add anything “from the outside world” to their profiles. This probably sounds good to parents, but what’s left is a social network that only parents will like. Kids will go elsewhere. Just as will happen as YouTube, MySpace and others are pressured to put limits on what content can go on their sites, it simply opens up tremendous opportunities for new sites to spring up that don’t limit what people do. In fact, it’s already happening, with plenty of new sites more than happy to attract users pissed off at limitations found on other social networking sites. While Disney is apparently betting on this new limited social network to be a big part of its strategy going forward, from the description so far, it doesn’t sound likely to fare much better than Wal-Mart’s attempt at a MySpace clone that was shut down after the only people who used it were Wal-Mart marketing folks putting up profiles of fake kids talking about what they’d bought at Wal-Mart.


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Comments on “Disney's Attempt To Create Their Own MySpace A Little Too Mickey Mouse”

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44 Comments
djones says:

Re: holy crap!!!

I second that. If they kick this off and a pedophile gets nailed for using the site to attract kids, what will Disney say then. Nothing on the net is full proof or 100% secure. I am sure that Disney’s high priced lawyers will get them out of any trouble. You should not go out and say that you will have limitations that will protect the children. You can fake anything on the internet.

Brian says:

Personally I think this is OK.

Believe it or not, there are a lot of families out there that go crazy for Disney stuff. Kids too. And with MySpace being like the wild west of social networking, a family-friendly networking site makes sense. I would say it is not trying to compete with MySpace at all, but fill a niche which MySpace has already shown to have failed in – a place where the whole family can connect without getting bombarded with porn spam.

Will I use it, or will most of the techies that visit this site? No. But families who want to connect with each other in a regulated space will be able to do so.

MdlMkr says:

Re: Personally I think this is OK.

I cant believe I am about to type this…I think Disney is on target with this one. I think the age at which kids start using computers to communicate with each other is getting younger and younger. I believe that having a safe place for them to do do is a good thing.

A place where a 7 year old can leave a message for his classmate and a parent can relax a little about the content of the site is not a bad thing.

That pedophile argument is lame. Don’t cha think that Disney thought of this already?? Dont’t cha think that may be one of the big reasons that they are monitoring the content?

I am all for keeping kids a little innocent for a little longer. They will be exposed to the evil world soon enough.

Tyshaun says:

Re: Personally I think this is OK.

I agree, this site sounds like an excellent site for it’s intended audience, elementary and middle school age kids(I’m imagining). Mike, get off your soap box for a second, everything on the net doesn’t have to be wild open and fancy free. I think the “walled garden” is quite appropriate for certain things, for instance a “myspace like” implementation for the Disney set. The kids can hang out for a couple of hours in a “relatively” safe and well controlled environment.

As per the “pedophile possibility” short of locking your kids in the house, home schooling them, and not allowing them to use a phone or the computer, what viable option do you have? I have one, teach them to protect themselves! It’s a lifelong skill that is far better served than letting some corporation or government act as the babysitter/protector for your child. Parents need to parent and pedophilia becomes a non-issue.

Also, I think in general that the whole “the internet must be open” mantra is a bit foolish and short sited. Of course the entire internet shouldn’t be walled off into little corporate gardens, but remember the internet didn’t really gain wide scale use until companies like AOL dumbed it down so that the average non-techie found it approachable. I think there will and should be a market out there for people who want there internet spooned to them in nice, easy to understand chunks. That is the true beauty of the internet, to have open areas and walled gardens just a www away.

Sohrab says:

hhhmm havent posted in a while.

I think that not all things are meant to be the same. Although I agree with what your saying, I think for parents (not me as im only 21) but its a great thing. Disney has alot of content to provide that makes kids happy. As time advances, kids are much more robust in technolog then their parents and its only a matter of time before they get into sites like myspace.

I see lots of parents coming into BBY, wanting a laptop for their kids who are 8 or 10 and they want them to just go to Nickelodian websites and such to play their games on there. Why not have a Disney like social network for little kids to be amongst themselves.

Xenohacker@hotmail.com says:

Will It Be Called Disney's Pedophile's Online

I say more power to Disney if they want to censor the Internet for children. However, the reality of it is they will never be able to do it. I believe children and teens should be sheltered from the Internet altogether. What makes the Internet popular?

1. Open World Wide Communication
2. Freedom of Speech
3. No Censorship

Disney was created to cater to children. Disney products are not made for adults which is vast majority of what is found on the Internet. I believe it only opens a door for pedophiles to find children online. So, parents don’t destroy your children. Keep them home playing with footballs and dollies. Heck if you feel the need to mess up your children? Just let them watch TV that will mess them up plenty. Keep them off the Internet unless you want to get them killed and/or molested. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind their new service will be misused by pedophiles. But maybe Disney is OK with this.

danimal says:

Why not?

So what exactly is the harm here? There seem to be two camps:

1. Kids shouldn’t be using MySpace or any equivalent.
Yes, yes and kids shouldn’t play video games, watch TV, talk with girls/boys, read comic books, ride a bike without a helmet, smoke, lie, cheat, steal, listen to rap music or heavy metal, etc. etc. etc. How LONG has it been for some of you? The idea of social networking isn’t going away any time soon and kids seem to like the idea, so why not get a huge company with the resources to do it right and a vested interest in protecting kids and (more importantly to them, its reputation) to try and take it on. What’s next? They’ll probably serve advertisements for movies and stuff to the kids that they don’t need…imagine that!

2. It’s going to be pedophile central! Yeah, because that’s what all the pedophiles were waiting for…Disney to launch a version of MySpace. If you think that the launch of this product will cause more people to become pedophiles than you’ve got an argument; otherwise, shut up. Personally, I think MySpace does an absolutely attrocious job of protecting its user-base from the most nefarious among us and an alternative is more-than-welcome.

I say go Disney! I know it’ll be littered with ads and be completely watered-down, but I’ll let my kids use it if they so desire. I will, however, let them know that it is a complete and utter waste of their time and energies to be sitting in front of a computer “chatting” with the kid across the street.

lizard says:

prevention vs. prohibition

@ Xenohacker — keeping children off of the internet entirely believing that this will somehow keep them safe is as ridiculous as refusing to let them go outside — since when have absolute prohibitions actually prevented kids from doing anything? Unless you can keep your child within sight — and reach — 24/7/365, you can be sure that at some point they will get access to this exciting forbidden place, the Internet. And when they do they will be as naive as preschoolers, with no guidance or guidelines, no experience, no one to protect them and unable to protect themselves.

there is no substitute for education, training, and supervision — and open lines of communication that include provisions for complete honesty, no matter what — in the prevention of online (or any other sort of) exploitation. the kids who are most likely to be victimized are the ones who feel they cannot tell their parents what’s going on.

The Man says:

Disney is Good

My question is why does Tech Dirt throw crap at any business who tries to do something new and different? Just because a service is different than my space does not make it bad. In fact it could thrive to a different user base. That is how our free market works. Does a five star resturant market to the same crowd as McDonalds? Do young Hip Hop people want to go to a Classical music concert? Does that make the classical music concert bad and stupid for trying to make music that is different from the wildly popular rap music? You make a very stupid argument. Disney’s site may fail, but then again it may prosper with a totally different market than that of MySpace. It may only be filled with 7 to 12 year olds, who then get board with the site and move on. But does that make this attempt a failure? I think many companies may pay money to advertise to several million 7-12 year olds. And Disney sells enough of their own crap that any extra exposure for their products could not hurt them.

Chris (user link) says:

i don't understand

i’ve used myspace since 2004 and only rarely do i get any spam. sure some of the bands i sign up for post a comment on my page when they have a new album coming out, but those are bands i like anyways. i don’t get much spam other than that, the occasional fake profile of a girl saying she is horny, lonely and just moved into my are and wants to meet me but only if i go to this pay site dating service and sign up to get her info yadda yadda. those are rare though, maybe once every 6 months.

i think disney’s biggest problem is, even if they do control the content, it will be used 2 say whatever you want. kids will make a code out of what they are allowed to use, much like how U can write swear words like @$$hole. U can’t censor people, they will just warp what U let them use 2 mean what they want it too. so once the kids all start using a little code like that, and then pedophiles figure it out, well, disney’s controls won’t do much at all. this stuff really shouldn’t be disney’s problem though, the real issue is if you have kids, and they don’t know that it’s bad to talk to (or trust) strangers in real life or online, then they really shouldn’t be allowed on the internet to talk to strangers!

Jake Lockley says:

Whoever wrote this article is an idiot.

It’s for kids. They aren’t targeting MySpace users, they are targeting watchers of Nicelodeon and the Disney channel, not teenagers. Your argument is like saying Disney doesn’t get it because they make a Disney MMO which will never compete with World of Worldcraft or satify it’s users. So what? It’s not supposed to compete, it targets a different market entirely which is not being addressed.

Children care about fun, not free speech getting laid or posting stupid videos of them dumping boiling water on their friends.

WAZ UP YALL says:

better chat room

hey do yall no bout club penguin if u dont go there and create talls own peguin trust me its not babieish
is fun and u get to meet new friends trust me u dont have to pay all u do is click on start then u lead the way caution dont put in bad penguin name cause u wiil get kicked off and yo patents will no note parent guid for parents if needed and all u kid nappers u cant get on cause if u ask for personal info
it wont go through the club penguin moniter so like they say peace out yall
I HOLLH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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