Myspace was at one point more popular than Google in the United States – the site offered a social network that was favoured by more over Facebook. Myspace offered its users the chance to create profiles, connect with friends, upload photos and more – with the site also featuring an underlying emphasis on music. Its rise led to an inevitable purchase at the hands of a media conglomerate, yet a decline would follow within years, as Myspace struggled to react as the clattering hooves of Facebook came roaring past. So what happened to Myspace and what went wrong? And what has happened to Myspace in the present day?
Myspace was created in 2003, as a result of employees at eUniverse seeing a gap in the market. Chris DeWolfe, Tom Anderson and Jon Hart founded the site with some help from programmers at eUniverse. eUniverse subsequently used its industry connections to raise awareness of MySpace, and mass interest soon followed. Friendster had previously been the most popular social network, but was unable to keep up with the rapid rise of Myspace. Myspace became one of the most popular websites on the internet, similar to how Facebook dominates the market in the contemporary era.
Given the success of Myspace, it didn’t take long for large conglomerates to show an interest in purchasing the site. News Corporation – owned by media magnate Rupert Murdoch – purchased Myspace (as well as its parent company eUniverse) for $580m in 2006. News Corporation staved off competition from Viacom to secure the purchase. Viacon owner Sumner Redstone consequently fired the CEO of Viacom due to its loss, which was branded as ’embarassing’. Initially, MySpace fared well under News Corporation’s ownership.
Such was the meteoric rise of Myspace was that at one point in 2006 it overtook Google as the most visited site in the US – something that is near unthinkable. 100,000,000 users existed by 2007, and the site seemed to be going from strength-to-strength. Yet the rise of Facebook soon paved the way for a marked decline. While Facebook continuously improved and innovated, Myspace were largely stagnant. They also attracted criticism for what was perceived as a lax security system, further prompting users to ditch Myspace for Facebook.
Around this time, several more questionable decisions were made by Myspace. The site included more advertising on its platform – deemed by many to be excessive and ultimately inadvertently compromising the user experience. The business started opening new offices, which would later be seen as a questionable decision. Advertisers dropped their interest in the site due to falling traffic, and the workforce of Myspace was trimmed significantly. Myspace attempted to claw market share back by undergoing several redesigns, but these ultimately proved unpopular with users.
Myspace eventually admitted defeat in their bid to compete with Facebook and moved into social entertainment, as opposed to social networking. Yet by 2011, the site was up for sale. A few months later, Specific Media and Justin Timberlake purchased Myspace for $35m – an enormous drop on the $580m that News Corporation had paid originally. The new owners were unable to restore the site to its previous glory. It was purchased in 2016 was TimeInc, who continue to own the business to this day.
Myspace was a big part of many people’s teenage years, and is viewed with nostalgia by many. It was once what Facebook is now. Music was also a huge part of MySpace, and several artists like Lily Allen and the Arctic Monkeys were discovered on the platform. MySpace is viewed very positively by most – who have good memories of using the site. Unfortunately for fans of the site, traffic levels dropped as users emigrated mainly to Facebook, as well as other social networks like Twitter and Google+.
Myspace.com still exists to this day, and continues to be a social entertainment site. TimeInc have seemingly steadied the ship, and the site has a strong readership with a strong revenue model. It is unlikely that it will ever, ever return to its previous glory, but the site does still function. We have written in the past regarding how Bebo struggled to innovate and compete with Facebook, and the same can be said about Myspace – that proved to be another victim of Facebook’s rise.