A chill went through widget-land this evening - as reported by TechCrunch and on the Photobucket blog, MySpace has blocked Photobucket videos from appearing on its site. According to Photobucket, millions of pieces of content have gone dim.
MySpace is making a habit of these shows of force. With rumors of Photobucket being for sale, this could be an attempt to dampen interest from potential deep pocketed suitors of the media sharing site.
The knee jerk reaction of a guy like myself who writes about widgets and makes his living from social media is to scoff at MySpace for "not getting it."
But is this true? Will MySpace users really revolt and desert if they don't have their Photobucket videos? At this point, we don't know. Just how passionate are Photobucket users about the service? Is it an inconvenience, or a slap in the face?
So let's take a look at the other side of this. What benefit would MySpace see if all of those Photobucket video players are replaced by MySpace video players? First off, it would weaken a company that increasingly looks to be getting into the destination business. Secondly, it would provide MySpace a heck of a lot of pre / post roll inventory that wasn't available before.
I don't know how all of this is going to shake out, and I'd bet that Fox doesn't either. But by having these periodic outages, they are certainly able to get a quick gauge on the level of outrage from MySpacers.
One final point / question here. I'm not sure if I would have been so quick to publicly call out MySpace for this outage as the Photobucket CEO was. Does Photobucket have the emotional clout to stir up a MySpace user revolt? Or will this public stare down only cause MySpace to dig in their heels? Sometimes a few deep breaths and a behind the scenes email works better than hitting submit on that emotional post. But hell, I would be pissed too.