This week is definitely an exciting week for mail. MySpace announced the introduction of MySpace Mail, a uniquely MySpace twist on mail that blends the best of social networking and traditional mail.
Return Path has contended for some time that social networking is not a death knell for mail. In fact, we have always believed that people would want to have mail integrated into their social networking experience and have grown tired of siloed communications (i.e., messages confined within a network as opposed to being open to all). We applaud this move by MySpace as it’s giving consumers what they want: Full-fledged mail integrated within their MySpace experience.
MySpace, meanwhile, has created a mail system that has a lot of anti-spam technology built right in. And they are doing this, in part, with help from Return Path. The new @myspace.com mail service will be integrated with the Return Path Blacklist to keep out spam, phishing scams and other junk. They will also be implementing Return Path Certification to make sure that MySpace members get the email they request. They will also be contributing data in our Return Path Reputation Network, the cooperative database that powers our Sender Score.
The introduction of mail at MySpace is likely to be good news for marketers. Today, consumer’s attention is often split between many different communication platforms. MySpace users who embrace the new MySpace mail won’t have their attention divided — checking MySpace updates, dipping quickly into their outside email inbox. With mail integrated into MySpace, marketers may gain consumers attention.
But marketers will need to move cautiously. While some people will appreciate an integrated mail experience – including transactional messages and even some promotions that are relevant – others may be very sensitive to marketing messages intruding on the social networking space.
Of course, beyond the marketing impact, this new mail space is unlikely to be like anything we’ve seen before as MySpace has created a more meaningful, fun, and social experience around one of the most popular activities on MySpace. We have one early prediction: As MySpace integrates mail, we will see an even bigger explosion in word-of-mouth and viral marketing. Sure, email forward-to-a-friend has been around for years, but the MySpace and social network connections will make it easier and faster to share information with wider groups of people.
Whatever they come up with, we are sure it will be very interesting, especially for consumers who have embraced social media with such passion.