MySpace is a social networking website offering an interactive, user-submitted network of friends, personal profiles, blogs, groups, photos, music, and videos. It is headquartered in Beverly Hills, California.
Myspace was acquired by News Corporation in July 2005 for $580 million. From 2005 until 2008, Myspace was the largest social networking site in the world, and in June 2006 surpassed Google as the most visited website in the United States. In April 2008, Myspace was overtaken by Facebook in the number of unique worldwide visitors, and was surpassed in the number of unique U.S. visitors in May 2009, though Myspace generated $800 million in revenue during the 2008 fiscal year. Since then, the number of Myspace users has declined steadily in spite of several redesigns. As of May 2014, Myspace was ranked 982 by total web traffic, and 392 in the United States. As of February 2015 the ranks were 1594 and 1296, correspondingly.
Myspace had a significant influence on pop culture and musicand created a gaming platform that launched the successes of Zynga and RockYou, among others. The site also started the trend of creating unique URLs for companies and artists.
In June 2009, Myspace employed approximately 1,600 workers. In June 2011, Specific Media Group and Justin Timberlake jointly purchased the company for approximately $35 million. Under new ownership, the company had undergone several rounds of layoffs and by June 2011, Myspace had reduced its staff to around 200.
In August 2003, several eUniverse employees with Friendster accounts saw potential in its social networking features. The group decided to mimic the more popular features of the website. Within 10 days, the first version of Myspace was ready for launch, implemented using ColdFusion. A complete infrastructure of finance, human resources, technical expertise, bandwidth, and server capacity was available for the site. The project was overseen by Brad Greenspan (eUniverse's Founder, Chairman, CEO), who managed Chris DeWolfe (MySpace's starting CEO), Josh Berman, Tom Anderson (MySpace's starting president), and a team of programmers and resources provided by eUniverse.
The first Myspace users were eUniverse employees. The company held contests to see who could sign up the most users. eUniverse used its 20 million users and e-mail subscribers to breathe life into Myspace, and move it to the head of the pack of social networking websites. A key architect was tech expert Toan Nguyen who helped stabilize the Myspace platform when Brad Greenspan asked him to join the team. Co-founder and CTO Aber Whitcomb played an integral role in software architecture, utilizing the then superior development speed of ColdFusion over other dynamic database driven server-side languages of the time. Despite over ten times the number of developers, Friendster, which was developed in JavaServer Pages (jsp), could not keep up with the speed of development of Myspace and cfm.
Logo from 2004 to 2010
The MySpace.com domain was originally owned by YourZ.com, Inc., intended until 2002 for use as an online data storage and sharing site. By 2004, it was transitioned from a file storage service to a social networking site. A friend, who also worked in the data storage business, reminded Chris DeWolfe that he had earlier bought the domain MySpace.com. DeWolfe suggested they charge a fee for the basic Myspace service. Brad Greenspan nixed the idea, believing that keeping Myspace free was necessary to make it a successful community.
Rise and purchase by News Corp: 2005–2008
Myspace quickly gained popularity among teenage and young adult social groups. In February 2005, DeWolfe held talks with Mark Zuckerberg over acquiring Facebook but DeWolfe rejected Zuckerberg's $75 million asking price.
Some employees of Myspace, including DeWolfe and Berman, were able to purchase equity in the property before MySpace and its parent company eUniverse (now renamed Intermix Media) was bought. In July 2005, in one of the company's first major Internet purchases, Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation (the parent company of Fox Broadcasting and other media enterprises) purchased Myspace for US$580 million. News Corporation had beat out Viacom by offering a higher price for the website, and the purchase was seen as a good investment at the time. Of the $580 million purchase price, approximately $327 million has been attributed to the value of Myspace according to the financial adviser fairness opinion. Within a year, Myspace had tripled in value from its purchase price. News Corporation saw the purchase as a way to capitalize on Internet advertising, and drive traffic to other News Corporation properties.
After losing the bidding war for Myspace, Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone stunned the entertainment industry in September 2006 when he fired Tom Freston from the position of CEO. Redstone believed that the failure to acquire MySpace contributed to the 20% drop in Viacom's stock price in 2006 up to the date of Freston's ouster. Freston's successor as CEO, Philippe Dauman, was quoted as saying "never, ever let another competitor beat us to the trophy". Redstone told interviewer Charlie Rose that losing MySpace had been "humiliating", adding, "MySpace was sitting there for the taking for $500 million" (Myspace was sold in 2012 by News Corp for $35 million.)
Oxfam America President Raymond C. Offenheiser, Wendi Deng, and Rupert Murdoch with Myspace co-founders Anderson and DeWolfe at the 2006 Oxfam/Myspace Rock for Darfur event
In January 2006, Fox announced plans to launch a UK version of Myspace in a bid to "tap into the UK music scene", which they have since done. They released a version in China and have since launched similar versions in other countries.
The 100 millionth account was created on August 9, 2006, in the Netherlands.
On November 1, 2007, Myspace and Bebo joined the Google-led OpenSocial alliance, which already included Friendster, Hi5, LinkedIn, Plaxo, Ning and Six Apart. OpenSocial was to promote a common set of standards for software developers to write programs for social networks. Facebook remained independent. Google had been unsuccessful in building its own social networking site Orkut in the U.S. market and was using the alliance to present a counterweight to Facebook.