Myspace was a social networking site that allowed users to build their web pages, participate in forums, and listen to music.
Myspace failed because of increased competition, an inconsistent and substandard product, and prolonged legal challenges.
The site has grown into the largest social networking platform globally since its debut in January 2004. News Corp acquired it for $580 million in 2005 but subsequently failed.
When you were a teenager, you may remember a site that revolutionized the social network concept and established a Web 2.0 banner where individuals permanently stopped being passive recipients of the information.
MySpace, launched in 2003, spared users the task of creating a web page by offering instead a profile on which they could share images, music, and favorite videos and express themselves.
The social network developed by Tom Anderson and Chris DeWolfe became the platform through which bands such as the Arctic Monkeys were launched in the music industry almost instantly.
Headed by media magnate Rupert Murdoch, the News Corp corporation smelled success and acquired MySpace for $580 million in 2005. But six years later, he decided to sell the company for only $35 million.
Its path to success began by outperforming Google and Yahoo on monthly traffic and attracting five million new subscribers.
However, its new owners lacked vision and evolution, allowing other competitors to snatch its power, transforming it into a ghost town which, believe it or not, still operates or survives to this day.
You will almost certainly recognize Tom Anderson, one of the site’s creators if you’ve never owned a MySpace page but are familiar with the site’s history.
Yes, Tom, the first friend you made when you joined MySpace and every other MySpace user’s first friend.
MySpace was founded in 1990. He was a member of a San Francisco rock band called Swank, but he became a marketing editor at Xdrive Technologies due to leaving music for a day job.
When Chris DeWolfe served as vice president of sales and marketing for the same business in 1999, he had just begun his career. Xdrive Technologies ceased to exist in March 2001.
Those events led DeWolfe and Anderson to recognize an opportunity to launch Response Base, another Internet marketing firm.
They decided to start MySpace as a division of eUniverse in August 2003 after eUniverse acquired their company in September 2002.
DeWolfe was appointed executive director, and Anderson was appointed president of the corporation.
MySpace was founded in Los Angeles, where the company was headquartered, and quickly expanded to New York and Hawaii.
DeWolfe confessed in an interview that 70% of Hawaiians have been on MySpace from the beginning.
The site allowed users to customize their profile information and appearance. Users also could create a profile without needing to be invited, something that Facebook didn’t offer initially.
What Is MySpace?
Myspace was a social media website that allowed users to create personal web pages that showcase their interests while connecting with others through social networking sites.
Their real names don’t typically identify myspace users; instead, they often use fabricated nicknames.
Users can also interact with friends and follow official accounts, such as bands, write blogs, and participate in various discussion forums.
Myspace was especially interested in promoting the work of other musicians. Myspace also had a Music section where users could listen to songs and share them with their friends.
Myspace later added a classifieds section and video component to its site to compete with Craigslist and YouTube.
Myspace was attractive because it allowed users to customize their profiles utilizing HTML and CSS instructions.
Myspace was geared toward providing lifestyle material related to movies and music while also promoting artists.
MySpace was originally intended to be a side project for a friend. This online social network began as a spinoff from the highly successful social networking site Friendster.
It quickly became one of the most popular social networking sites before Facebook.
The social network gained its first million members just one month after formally introducing it in 2004 and had 20 million registered users by 2005.
A user’s profile page was personalized upon registering on the site. They could write posts or blogs, communicate with others via comments or messages, and share their music or that of their favorite musicians.
The site generated its money mostly by selling advertisements to its users, approximately 76 million in 2008.
History Of MySpace
Myspace has a history that is characterized by true simplicity. MySpace was first called MySpace before being stylized as Myspace and was created on August 1, 2003, by Tom Anderson, Chris DeWolfe, and Brad Greenspan to meet their expectations for social networking websites.
Myspace was created by taking the most popular elements of Friendster and tweaking them to make them better fit their target audience.
The three were already members of Friendster. It took the group approximately 10 days to complete the first version of the Myspace website.
Myspace was one of the first social networking sites that allowed users to create and fully customize their profiles and send friend requests to other users – there was a lot of buzz about this.
Additionally, the Myspace tab allowed users to upload photos, videos, and music to their profiles by selecting the subsections Myspace photos, Myspace videos, and Myspace music.
The use of basic HTML allowed users to accomplish every one of these tasks, and Myspace allowed users to post nearly any type of content. Myspace restricted only love speech and excessive nudity for its platform.
Myspace was extremely popular among the target demographic of 16- to 25-year-olds.
They were able to attract celebrities from the media sector, primarily musicians, to their website due to their fame and media capabilities.
The News Corporation, Rupert Murdoch’s media giant, was eventually acquired Myspace’s popularity. The deal was worth $580 million (£443 million) in July 2005.
Myspace’s worth tripled within the first year after its acquisition, and it eventually surpassed Google and Yahoo! to become the United States’ most popular website in June 2006.
Myspace surpassed all other social media sites in 2008 in terms of monthly unique users, with more than 80 million registered users.
Myspace made a lot of money during this time, and its only source of income came from advertising, which was displayed on the website.
Why Did Myspace Fail?
MySpace was forced to close its doors because of increased competition, a subpar and inconsistent product, excessive spending, and protracted legal issues.
We’ll examine each point in more detail in the following part.
Myspace’s product experience was, at best poor, so the competitors only became important because of this.
It proved exceptionally difficult to navigate the Myspace website this time. There were thousands of pages with no information, aside from advertisements, which were certainly there.
It also appeared that Myspace was spamming its users with suspicious ads, in addition to bombarding them with thousands of display advertisements.
The founder of Napster, Sean Parker, commented in The Social Network that advertisements aren’t hip: “It’s like throwing the biggest party on campus and being told that you have to wrap it up at 11 o’clock.”
You should not fold your tent and go home now. A million dollars isn’t a lot of money. “Do you know what’s cool?” he asks before adding, “A billion dollars. That’s exactly where you’re headed: a billion-dollar market capitalization. Unless, of course, you follow lousy counsel.”
It got to the point that a Punch the Monkey ad was made, in which gamers were enticed to click on an animated monkey, only to be directed to credit cards and other offers for a chance to win.
Finally, Myspace was anything but social, even though it was positioned as a social network.
Unlike Facebook, users on this platform are allowed to use a nickname when they sign up, whereas, on Facebook, true names are encouraged.
The study results showed that individuals were connected to strangers with possibly harmful motives rather than their real friends and family.
Myspace failed because of the fierce competition, both in the United States and abroad.
Facebook first appeared on the scene in 2005 and has continued to grow ever since. Facebook was accessible only to college students and teenagers for the first nine months of 2006.
Its growth increased exponentially in the immediate aftermath of its expansion to the general public.
Moreover, Myspace faced an uphill battle against numerous local social networks in the countries where it was present.
Bebo, a popular social networking site in the United Kingdom, overtook Myspace in August 2007 but was eventually surpassed by Facebook.
Besides Facebook, Twitter, launched in July 2006, gained many users very quickly after its debut.
Furthermore, a small music website called Soundcloud has taken advantage of Myspace’s music-loving users.
Myspace’s high initial investment was another important factor in its demise. Myspace Music, for example, was created and launched with $120 million.
It employed over 1,000 people at its peak, indicating substantial labor costs.
Before generating substantial revenue, the corporation had already established and managed local offices in several countries, including the United Kingdom and Germany.
More than half of Myspace’s earnings vanished in a matter of hours after their contract with Google expired.
So, as a publicly owned company based on profits, News Corporation could not justify maintaining a business segment losing money.
Many of these substantial expenses had to be devoted to legal bills since numerous lawsuits had been involved.
For instance, a Texas woman filed a $30 million lawsuit against a Myspace user who sexually assaulted her daughter, 14, in June 2006.
Four families filed a class-action lawsuit claiming that their children were also sexually abused a few months later.
Myspace was also sued for copyright infringements in addition to sexual harassment claims. The most prominent claim was by Universal Music Group in November 2006.
The product team finally received these cases. The minor changes to the website were checked for compliance with applicable laws by a team of lawyers from News Corp.
This ultimately reduced the rate of decision-making. Facebook, however, was allowed to operate independently, allowing it to release updates almost daily.
What Happened To Myspace?
Tom Anderson, Brad Greenspan, and Chris DeWolfe founded Myspace in Beverly Hills, California, in August 2003.
Chris DeWolfe previously ran his own business, ResponseBase, which he finally sold to eUniverse.
At eUniverse, he met Anderson and Greenspan, the latter of whom was his superior.
The business of eUniverse focused on selling tangible products over the internet, ranging from bicycles to dietary supplements.
They were particularly adept at amassing an audience to advertise their products, frequently using aggressive means of online marketing, such as email messages and pop-up advertising.
They accumulated a vast email list of about 20 million contacts over time.
A year previously, a new social networking site called Friendster debuted on the internet and quickly took over the online world.
Employees at eUniverse began to notice and even began utilizing the service.
The team was inspired by the power of social media and decided to fast-track the creation of their own.
DeWolfe acquired the Myspace.com domain in 2002. He initially used it for selling electric scooters for $99 each.
Until January 2004, Myspace was made available to the public following internal beta testing.
The team utilized a few additional growth hacks in addition to the company’s 20-million-strong email list.
Friendster has always maintained a pristine image and has consequently removed users who would hurt it.
A reality television personality, Tila Tequila was one of those members booted from Friendster for breaking the site’s usage regulations.
The Myspace crew then approached Tequila and any other influencers booted from Friendster to invite them to join the new platform.
Within months of being internally beta-tested, Myspace surged to millions of monthly users from all over the world. The platform had over 5 million users by the end of November of that year.
The next few months saw tremendous growth for Myspace. It was then announced that Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, now Fox Corporation, had acquired Intermix Myspace’s parent company, rebranded as eUniverse, for a surprising $580 million.
Myspace’s explosive growth contributed to the staggering price tag, as rival media companies’ were interested in acquiring it. Viacom had been on the lookout for a deal to bolster its failing MTV channel.
DeWolfe was appointed CEO of News Corp because the company lacked real expertise with social media networks.
Tom Anderson would serve as president and be responsible for all things software.
They also received a generous bonus payment to encourage them to stay and continue expanding the platform.
Myspace surpassed Google and Yahoo as the most-visited website in the United States by July of the following year (2006). There were 90 million users in the United States, 60 percent of whom were based in that country.
Furthermore, Myspace has opened local offices in countries such as the UK and Germany to increase its local presence.
Myspace announced an advertising partnership with Google a month later, in August.
In exchange for providing its website and its search results with sponsored links exclusively, Google will pay $900 million over the next three years.
As a result of the network’s experience, the team used its clout to diversify its offerings, including Myspace TV (a competitor to YouTube).
Despite the platform’s enormous success, fractures began to appear shortly afterward. One month earlier, in May, eight Attorneys General of the United States revealed that internal investigations into Myspace had led them to identify hundreds of known and occasionally convicted sexual offenders on the website.
Lori Drew, 49, registered as 16-year-old Josh Evans, cyberbullied Meghan Meier, a 13-year-old Missouri girl.
These ongoing lawsuits have only served to erode Myspace’s public reputation.
Parents were opposed to their children being registered on a site associated with suicide and sexual assault, while youth thought the platform was uncool in the first place.
The Myspace website was not only plagued with frustrating problems, but it also had a lot of suspicious-looking ads as well.
Additionally, a new advertising-free platform was primarily popular among young teens and college students.
Facebook is its name. Facebook’s software was significantly easier to use, more visually appealing and connected you with real individuals using their real names.
Many people declared January 30th to be ‘International Delete Your MySpace Account Day,’ encouraging others to do the same and join other networks like Facebook.
Myspace responded to this trend by launching its developer platform to compete with Facebook’s F8 platform for creating Facebook applications.
Facebook developers made thousands of dollars from their ability to create playable games. This increased (young) users.
The largest social media network on the planet, Facebook, surpassed Myspace by August 2008. The company expanded rapidly internationally, especially in Europe.
However, in the United States, Myspace was able to preserve its leadership position — at least temporarily.
Myspace officially launched its long-awaited Music product a month after being surpassed by Facebook on international grounds.
With the offering, users could listen to and download music directly from Myspace, which had invested $120 million in the program, and Sony BMG, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Group were all participating.
Myspace Music was supposed to be the beginning of the collaboration between online platforms and major media companies that sued startups like Napster into obscurity, but it was at best a footnote.
The product was incredibly buggy and, more importantly, nearly impossible to locate on the internet.
DeWolfe and Anderson were relieved of their leadership responsibilities by News Corp to right the ship.
Owen Van Natta, a former Facebook COO, was charged with rescuing the floundering social network.
Myspace’s employment decreased from 1,000 to 700 after cutting 30% of its employees.
It was, unfortunately, too late. Facebook surpassed Myspace as the most popular social networking site in the United States in June 2009.
Simultaneously, Google’s advertising partnership with Myspace expired, resulting in the platform’s revenue being decimated. Within a short time, other platforms such as Twitter began eclipsing Myspace.
After joining Myspace in July 2009, Van Natta left the company less than a year later.
Van Natta said he became increasingly frustrated with the firm’s “slow pace of change” and “entrenched culture” – a recipe for disaster for practically any enterprise, let alone a startup.
News Corp, whose subsidiary Myspace is owned by, laid off another 600 employees in January 2011, widely viewed as the final nail in Myspace’s coffin.
News Corp sold Myspace to Specific Media in June of the same year for a modest $35 million.
Myspace’s new owner spent the following few months revamping the site.
The site focuses entirely on music instead of competing with Facebook and Twitter. It helps identify new artists and provides support for their work.
Myspace was resurrected with Justin Timberlake’s help in January 2013. Timberlake also released a new track to commemorate the relaunch, his first since 2006. Myspace continued to exist in the years that followed, mostly unnoticed by the public.
The platform made headlines again in February 2016, when Time Inc acquired Specific Media, rebranding it as Viant Technology.
A few months later, in May 2015, the platform’s news cycle adopted a more negative tone. Hackers took 427 million MySpace passwords and tried to sell them for $2,800.
A server move in March 2019 resulted in the erasure of over 50 million digital files on Myspace.
Almost all data before 2015 was permanently deleted, signaling the end of a relevant internet era.
Following a global outage in October 2021 that brought down Facebook and its connected services such as Instagram and WhatsApp, users worldwide shared memes. They expressed their desire for Myspace to return.
Myspace is now a hybrid of a lifestyle news site focused on music and cinema and a social networking platform dedicated to encouraging emerging artists.