Windows Live Spaces was launched on Tuesday and immediately ran into difficulties as Juan Carlos Perez reports at InfoWorld:
Microsoft’s highly anticipated upgrade of its MSN Spaces blogging and social networking service has run into significant and unforeseen performance problems.
Microsoft began rolling out the “next generation” version of the service, dubbed Windows Live Spaces, on Tuesday night, but things got quite bumpy along the way.
For more than 12 hours, pages loaded extremely slowly at best, and at worst they didn’t render properly at all, according to a message posted late Wednesday by Microsoft on the official MSN Spaces blog.
“We know we disappointed a bunch of you with the issues we had in our roll-out last night,” the message reads. “We planned long and hard for this release and unfortunately it was one of those gotchas that only showed up once we were in production.”
There are apparently still some lingering problems, but this was a major re-plumbing of MSN Spaces which isn’t a little deal.
LiveSide says Windows Live Spaces is Live! This is the upgraded MSN Spaces personal blogging service, now with the Windows Live brand. We mentioned some pertinent features back in June when it had been rumored to be coming in mid-July. Check it out for yourself at http://spaces.live.com/. I wonder what kind of marketing it will get?
Ed Oswald at BetaNews:
Microsoft said Friday that it was preparing to migrate its Spaces blogging service to its Windows Live brand, and with the change the company will add new features and tighter integration with other Windows Live services.
Although no specific date for the switch has been announced, sources tell BetaNews the service is expected to debut July 15.
Hit the link for all the new features including social networking enhancements, but here’s the ka-ching part:
Banner ads will replace the current method of using text ads across the top of the site. Microsoft has said in the past that advertising would support the Windows Live service, keeping it free. However, an option is provided to turn off the ads by subscribing to the Hotmail Plus service.
And Hotmail Plus is $19.95 per year. I expect there will be some resistance to this form of monetization which bears an unfortunate resemblance to the old “build your own Web site” services (e.g. GeoCities) and their annoying banners, although the early screenshots at the Spaces blog make it look less intrusive. It also doesn’t help that Google’s free Blogger service has no mandated ads, but offers the blogger the option of making some money with Google’s AdSense contextual ads.
May 24, 2006 — MSN® Spaces is the most widely used blogging service worldwide with more than 100 million unique visitors, according to data released today by comScore Networks Inc. of Reston, Va., an independent Internet audience measurement and consulting company.
comScore World Metrix’s proprietary audience report for April 2006 showed the total number of unique visitors to MSN Spaces has more than doubled in the past 12 months, from 41.65 million to 101 million.* Figures compiled by comScore Media Metrix indicate that during April 2006, nearly one in seven Internet users worldwide had visited MSN Spaces.
The asterisk is because comScore is unable to count unique visitors from some countries like China.
While this is certainly an achievement, I hope it isn’t too Scrooge-like to inquire about monetization. Or more succinctly, now that they’ve got the eyeballs, where’s the cash?