Blog Post

Is MySpace Dead?

A great article in (Financial Times) about what happened to MySpace after Rupert Murdoch acquired it and did his all to milk it for every penny of advertising revenue.  The piece is called "The Rise and Fall of MySpace," by Matthew Garrahan.  It can be found here.


An excerpt from 

"The Rise and Fall of MySpace," by Matthew Garrahan.

"To say MySpace was a hot property back in 2005 is something of an understatement. Its rapidly expanding tribe of users had attracted the attention of other potential buyers. Viacom, for one, a rival media conglomerate that owns companies such as Paramount Pictures and Comedy Central, was eyeing it as a vehicle to revive its flagging MTV channel, a similarly youth-oriented brand.

But Murdoch got there first and the resulting $580m deal transformed his image at a stroke. The curmudgeonly media baron, whose achievements included breaking the Fleet Street printing unions and launching the conservative Fox News cable channel, had re-invented himself as a 21st-century internet hipster. It took Wall Street a few months to appreciate the magnitude of the deal but the purchase slowly began to imbue News Corp with an almost priceless commodity it had lacked: cool.

. . . .But by the beginning of 2008, things began to sour. Facebook, a rival social network that was simpler and easier to use, was gaining momentum and starting to grow more quickly than MySpace. Murdoch confidently told the world that MySpace would make $1bn in advertising revenues in 2008 – but the company missed its target. Users began to desert the site, which had become cluttered with unappealing ads for teeth straightening and weight-loss products. News Corp executives could hardly hide their displeasure, and in April this year, DeWolfe left, closely followed by most of his senior management team. . . . '"

Read the rest of it here:


1 comment

I'm as happy to criticize Rupert Murdoch as the next guy; hes clearly the kind of mogul who's in it for the money, not for the good of humanity. In this case, though, I wonder if people are blaming him for something that's not exactly his fault. Okay, yes, slapping ads up on every wall in MySpace was probably not the smartest business move. But on the other hand, the fading of MySpace seems similar to the current Fading of Facebook. MySpace's mistake was going corporate; Facebook's was a combination of allowing all those outside applications and trying really, really hard to be more like Twitter. Twitter's first mistake was in trying to capitalize on the creative approaches to tweeting developed by users (as in the "retweet" feature that hits the letter but not the spirit of retweeting).Time will tell if Twitter makes another similar mistake.

Stability doesn't work--if the above social networks had chosen to remain exactly the same, they still would've lost users. The effort to shift to meet users' shifting needs was the appropriate business move. The problem is that in shifting, each network tries to be more like the new(ly popular) network. Facebook can't be Twitter, no matter how hard it tries; and nobody wants it to be Twitter, anyway. We already HAVE a Twitter.

And Murdoch's mistake was in thinking that people would tolerate an ad-covered social network just because advertising is everywhere else on the internet. Or perhaps his mistake was in thinking that nobody would notice just a few more ads.