Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Facebook’s Overhaul Gives MOG a Rocket Ride

Hey, guess what happens when your Web service gets access to Facebook’s 800 million users?

Bingo! Your service gets a lot more users.

We’ve seen and heard this story several times since Facebook’s most recent redesign, launched in September, which autoshares what users are reading, watching and hearing.

So services that are hooked into Facebook’s new “ticker” are seeing an influx of traffic — the same way you’d get traffic if you put up lots and lots of signs on a highway used by a half billion people per day.

Still, it continues to bear repeating, and it turns out that music subscription service MOG wants to share.

Here’s the growth for monthly active users plugged into MOG via Facebook, plotted by Inside Network’s AppData Facebook tracking service. The Facebook redesign kicked in just about a month ago, and sure enough, so did MOG’s traffic. It’s now at 160,000 monthly users, up 4x:

So that’s good, right? “This is the best distribution platform we’ve ever had,” says MOG CEO David Hyman.

He projects that if these growth rates continue, his service will have racked up 2.1 million monthly users by the end of the year. For context, Spotify, Facebook’s first among equals when it comes to music service partners, is on an even faster tear, with much bigger numbers. It already has 7.1 million monthly active users via Facebook, up from 1.1 million pre-Facebook redesign.

This is precisely what MOG was hoping would happen when it overhauled itself to offer free music to new users without requiring a credit card or any other commitment. (Competitor Rdio made a similar move, as did Spotify).

What we don’t know is how many of them will stick around. It’s entirely possible that MOG’s graph could trend down again, like it did in mid-October.

And what we really don’t know is how many of these new prospects will eventually start paying a monthly fee for access to features like mobile music. All of that free music costs MOG and its peers quite a bit, and they need to convert a minority of their users to make the model work.

There’s also a flip side to the redesign story, where some big Web sites/services that had counted on Facebook for traffic saw it drop dramatically after the overhaul. This week I chatted with a publisher who saw Facebook referrals drop by more than a third after the redesign, due to changes in the way the service surfaces shared stories from users’ friends.

That drop is similar to the effect some publishers noted after Google’s “Panda” overhaul. But the publisher I talked to this week says their sites at least were able to claw back much of that referral traffic by manually tweaking their sharing mechanisms.


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There’s a lot of attention and PR around Marissa, but their product lineup just kind of blows.

— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google