It seems that News Corp. is looking to sell MySpace. Therefore, 2011 started with huge lay – offs in the former leading social networking site, in an attempt to reduce its price for potential buyers (which include the well known Zynga – yes, the company that turned you all into farmers with Farmville). It is, however, sad to see how MySpace’s story has changed throughout the years.
MySpace was, perhaps, the hottest thing in social media when Web 2.0 was really young. An undeniable king, MySpace was one of the first places to offer people with an easy – to – create personal page. A feature that made MySpace particularly effective to the masses was the role it played in changing music industry. Bands used MySpace to promote their work for free to huge audiences and there are several examples of artists who first became known through it and signed huge recording contracts.
The entrance of News Corp., and of course Rupert Murdoch, in July 2005 was treated as a sign of MySpace’s potential. Media rushed to characterize Murdoch as a social media visionary, who managed to take advantage of the new trend. Up until early (or, some say, mid) 2008, MySpace was the No1 social network available. It even managed to survive through several serious issues, including phishing attacks in late 2006 (which was the reason I left from the MySpace family).
Then came the downturn. Facebook started reducing the distance until June 2008, when Facebook managed to take over. Following that, MySpace never recovered, numbers continued to fall, huge lay – offs and redesigns were used, in an attempt to turn the tide, until News Corp. decided to sell it. In late September 2010, it was Twitter’s time to surpass MySpace, leaving it to a pathetic Alexa ranking of 46, as of today (compared to Facebook ranking 2nd and Twitter 10th). MySpace accepted Facebook’s dominance and offered the option to log-in using Facebook, thus ending the war (well, should we let Zynga decide about that?).
MySpace did few things wrong, and these things were not major. Yes, there were security issues, significant gaps in child profiles’ policy etc., but they weren’t the ones to make MySpace lose its crown. MySpace did few things wrong because it did few things in general. It seems that it’s really hard for some people to realize that social media is a place of constant wars, where you have to listen to your fans, keep up the pace and face your competitors – it’s not only about making money. So, at the same time MySpace was resting on its laurels, Facebook reacted aggresively and took over the top of the hill with some radical changes. MySpace never managed to do that and gave up the battle, first when their CEO announced that they’re focusing on music entertainment content, and then with the ability to login to MySpace using a Facebook account.
Justice has been served in MySpace’s case but I still have positive feelings about it. MySpace was the first social networking site I ever used, as early as mid-2006, and its popularity was booming towards bands in my area (and my band as well). My band also used it back then, and it was easy to feel part of the music community. I may have deleted my account after I fell victim of the aforementioned phishing attack (being young and naive, I loged in with my credentials), but still, it’s hard not to recognize that MySpace was an important chapter in Web 2.0’s history. And if there’s one company around, able to revive MySpace and lead it to its old glory, this is Zynga. Time will show what will happen with the MySpace case.