MySpace is a social networking website where member profiles include music, videos, photos, blogs, and a network of friends.
MySpace was created and founded in 2003 by Internet marketing company eUniverse. The site was inspired by another social network, Friendster, and was launched just ten days after the idea was originally spawned. Originally, eUniverse’s aim was to create a website that was effectively a clone of Friendster to use as an advertising platform for it’s existing Internet marketing efforts. Toward this end, eUniverse leveraged its already sizeable customer base to draw new users and rapidly turned MySpace into the fastest-growing social network on the web.
By 2005, when MySpace was acquired by News Corporation for $580 million, MySpace had become the largest social network on the web – a position it retained until 2008. By the middle of 2006, MySpace managed to surpass Google and become the most-visited website in the United States. However, Facebook gained ground on MySpace in the late 2000s, and eventually surpassed MySpace in the number of registered users and monthly unique visitors.
By 2011, MySpace’s popularity had dwindled the point that the once-mighty network was acquired by Specific Media for a $35 million – a paltry sum compared to the price paid by News Corporation just six years prior.
While MySpace was initially conceived as a general-audience social network intended to attract all types of users, MySpace was particularly well-embraced by the music community and became a popular site for streaming music. In 2013, in a nod to this legacy, MySpace was redesigned and relaunched as a platform primarily intended to connect musical acts and their fans.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some of the major impacts on the web and pop culture at large created by MySpace?
MySpace made at least three major contributions that are still felt today:
- Easily-accessible public-facing profiles: MySpace was the first social network to offer customizable URLs. This marked the first time that a social network recognized that network profiles could have reach beyond the network itself. Today, virtually all social networks offer a public-facing customizable URL.
- Social gaming: MySpace launched a gaming platform that enabled the success of social gaming companies such as Zynga and RockYou.
- Music career launching platform: Several established musical acts and celebrities gained their initial popularity on MySpace. Musical acts that owe a debt of gratitude to MySpace include Owl City, Adele, Skrillex, Sean Kingston, Panic! At the Disco, and many more.
Why did MySpace decline?
According to a former MySpace VP, Sean Percival, the once-popular social network was a “massive spaghetti-ball mess” and was doomed by the “politics, greed” of MySpace’s parent company, News Corporation.
Among other factors, Percival cites the inevitable increase in administrative overhead that accompanied News Corporation’s acquisition of MySpace, a process that changed MySpace from being a “fast-moving sports car” to a slow-moving massive corporation. The result was a social network incapable of rapid innovation or quickly responding to the changing social networking landscape.
Another factor often cited is that fact that MySpace lacked a strategic focus. Rather than focusing on delivering a core experience that was valuable to users, MySpace instead focused on responding to a plethora of advertiser and corporate interests, and user experience suffered as a result.