Last July, Inside the Webb reported on new changes coming to MySpace in an effort to streamline the overall design of the social networking giant. As reported at the time, the changes were long overdue, however overhauling such a large organization was no easy task. The once reigning king of the social networking world has suffered in recent years and failed to keep up with the Facebook phenomenon.
Techcrunch reported only a few hours ago that the MySpace has cut 47 percent of staff (nearly 500 employees). According to the article, CEO Mike Jones said that the cuts were necessary to “provide the company with a clear path for sustained growth and profitability.” MySpace has been on a decline for several years and has lost millions of their once faithful members. Their redesign attempt last year (internally known as Futura) was a major change for the company but it looks like it may not have been enough.
So where did MySpace go wrong? Only a few years ago it was the number one social network and one of the most popular sites among teenagers and younger adults. Its flexibility meant that anyone could effectively sign up and customize their own part of the web with many options including the ability to connect with other MySpace users. Unfortunately this came with an arguable lack of moderation that soon led to problems of increasing signups by spammers and people promoting porn. According to an article reported at .eduGuru in late 2009,
MySpace is like the wild wild west or Las Vegas of social media, dirty and ghetto.
In 2005 MySpace was acquired by News Corp for $580 million. News Corp came in with an underlying focus on generating profits, rather than concentrating on growing and improving MySpace. MySpace maintained a strong profit for a long time, however while News Corp continued to push for more advertising, the social network started to look like a huge compilation of unorganized Internet ads. This unfortunately lead to more members signing on less frequently and eventually not at all. According to an article by Intelligent Spectator arguing why Facebook is succeeding where MySpace failed, by May of 2010, My Space had lost 109 million users (down 13%) from its previous year.
MySpace was once the world’s largest social network and while it still maintains popularity, it is fighting to stay relevant in the social networking arena. While the social network will unlikely disappear overnight, it does seem more likely that over time MySpace will eventually fade away and share the fate of many other large Internet success stories of the past, that grew and burned out too quickly.