The Assassination of MySpace by the Coward Rupert Murdoch

MySpace is dead and I blame Rupert Murdock.

The article can end right there. The point is made and few will argue. Unfortunately, I can’t stop.

After doing some research into the history of MySpace I realized something – it’s totally the fault of News Corp that the once-mighty social networking pioneer is going to be sold for parts in the coming months, maybe even weeks. We won’t go into the changes (or lack thereof) nor will we look at the commitment (or lack thereof) that News Corp put into MySpace. This was a huge squandering of something powerful and potentially beautiful.

Had News Corp gone in the right direction, we may not be so obsessed with Facebook or Twitter right now. Rupert Murdock killed off their only competition. Now we’re saying ByeSpace to MySpace.

Here’s what they did wrong:

MySpace Should Have Been A Leader, Not a Supporter

In 2005, the BBC reported that News Corp felt MySpace could drive traffic to the newly formed Fox Interactive Media.

Really, News Corp? Really? It should have been the other way around.

It’s like buying a Lamborghini to get the kids to school faster. The problem is they won’t all fit in the two-seater and even if they could, the Lamborghini doesn’t want to be used to drive kids to school. MySpace had the numbers but it wasn’t the right vehicle to try to drive traffic to Fox News or its variants.

Instead, the Lamborghini should have hit the open road and gone farther and faster than anyone else. It had the lead in the growing social media phenomenon. The market was there, and Fox News took them off the Autobahn and put them on city streets for some odd reason.

The Entertainment Hub: You Got Your Wish

There was speculation in 2005 that News Corp was planning on making MySpace a part of their emerging entertainment niche. Gigaom thought they were going after MTV. Others reported that they were trying to steer it towards being a television, music, and movie portal (which is sort of where they are now) to enhance their own ratings and generate buzz about their own shows.

History proves that you stick with what works until there are signs that it won’t work later. Facebook has stayed the course. YouTube has stayed the course. Twitter has stayed the course. MySpace has no idea what their original course was and they’re doing nothing to stay with it.

You got your wish. MySpace is now attempting to salvage what they have by becoming the place for Entertainment. There doesn’t seem to be a clear direction on what their place is in entertainment or how they’re going to beat their competition… which is another point – who is their competition now?

The waters have been muddied. Nobody knows for sure.

Money First, Money Last

The concept of buying MySpace was one that was likely not geared around straight direct profit. At the time, social media was not something that many considered high-profit. It was an emerging communication tool. For News Corp, it would have likely been seen as something that they hoped would make money but as long as it served its purpose they would support it financially even if it was in the red.

That changed quickly.

Not only was MySpace expected to turn a profit early on, it was expected to grow revenues. The very word “revenue” should have been eliminated from any discussion when they were bought. Had News Corp focused on building the site into a powerhouse, funding every last penny if necessary rather than expecting profits, they would likely have one of the most profitable websites in the world right now. They expected money too soon in a time when the money wasn’t there.

Facebook’s estimated $2 billion take in 2010 should have been going to MySpace and therefore News Corp. They weren’t hurting. It was like putting an 18-year-old to work to get money for the family now rather than investing in getting that kid a college degree so he could make a lot more money for the family later.

47% of the staff can attest to the “money last” part.

Is There a Future for MySpace?

No.

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Comments

  1. Mike Vandyke says

    I started using MySpace when I was about 18 (I’m 24 now). It was THE SHIT, I remember. The whole thing was cool to use, hip and underground–you know, all the time spent hacking together some HTML code you stole from a cool person’s profile and spiffing up your page with it trying to impress the opposite sex, then adding some cool auto-play song you just HAD to share with someone. Also remember how if you sent someone a message you could see whether or not they read it? The whole experience felt a bit socially unsafe but on the other hand also allowed one to spy and creep to some degree and fullfill their desires to know what people they were interested in/looked up to were doing in life.

    MySpace was a brand new experience in the beginning and in its heyday, and the level of social networking it offered was new and exciting. At the time, believe it or not, Facebook felt too “educational” and “corporate” to me, even though it always had more to do with partying and college relationshisp than it did with classwork, and had nothing to do with a corporation. I guess it was just the user experience and vibe it had, plus I was younger.

    The time for me to be converted fully to Facebook wasn’t very long. The transition period was like any other (at first Facebook was hard to use, felt awkward and too complicated, but soon it got better), and in no time I was hooked on the new and better system. I couldn’t go back. All of those MySpace pages containing the shittiest HTML code known to man hacked together by some 16 year old teeniebopper crashed my computer one too many times, plus it was also a social effect–the main reason I switched to FaceBook was because everyone else was doing it, and I wanted to see their profiles and all the new pics and conversations and shit that was going on. Simple as that. I was no early adopter/innovator in this case.

    Anyone else care to comment on their experience with the MySpace/Facebook switch? Me, and I’m sure everyone here, would be interested in first-hand accounts of what they feek led to MySpace’s demise.

  2. says

    Nice and well-thought review on My Space. You are right, MySpace is dead and gone. Facebook will continue to dominate for years to come and I wonder who will ever beat them.

  3. says

    Great post, myspace is dead but the only thing even somewhat holding them together is the music pages, lots of artists still use it to get their music out there. Maybe facebook should make a music page, I bet MySpace would die overnight if that happened.

  4. says

    Bueno yo llegue a MySpace cuando ya casi estaba muerta. Y facebook todavia estaba iniciandose. Ahora facebook es mucho más abierto y segun he leido noticias nuevas de que lo será más. Pero, también te comento que Twitter cada vez se esta tomanod más importancia como red social. Ya que las empresas están apostando por ella. Porque tiene está mucho más preparada y estructurada que facebook. Y es mucho más controlable.

  5. says

    “To catch the predator that killed MySpace.”
    To be fair, it is not very original to blame Rupert Murdoch for anything now-a-days. He’s a popular target, managing to assume public blame for everything from people not having health insurance to people getting paper cuts. So, naturally he could be a great venting point for someone mourning the recent death of their beloved MySpace.

    If Fox had anything to do with the fall of MySpace it was just being on the less clever side of a ratings war with NBC. Realistically, the death of MySpace had less to do with Fox News and more to do with one of their biggest competitors Dateline NBC. This is not to start a political conversation, by all means please believe in whatever political faith your little heart desires. Being reasonable though, it was NBC’s “To Catch a Predator” that molested MySpace and put the handcuffs on the entire operation… Come on, why don’t you just sit down. Have a seat. Let’s talk… Apologies for the puns, but people could not stop watching Chris Hansen talking to those guys in the kitchens of alleged adolescent children.

    Chris Hansen on the microphone, pervert in the kitchen, camouflaged SWAT team in the bushes outside, and a Ray Lewis quality tackle of said pervert by said SWAT team about to ensue. It was some of the best television ever made. But at that moment, every “digital-immigrant” parent in the United States turned into an angry soccer-mom. MySpace never stood a chance. It lay dead in the tracks of a couple million minivans.

    Suddenly every 12-17 year old in America had to shut down their MySpace accounts. If they did not they would be grounded by their parents or sexually harassed by an online predator. This accounted for a loss in probably over half of all regular MySpace users.

    And you know who was watching as all of this unfolded? The true murderer of the once mighty MySpace. Mark Zuckerburg, fresh out of his Harvard dorm room.

    MySpace was the too-unregulated, too-insecure, too-anything goes social media monster. Facebook began making a point of describing itself as the academic, scholarly like, Harvard uniform wearing , safe-to-socialize with sweetheart. It swept America off its feet, and MySpace off the map.

    The article does however highlight an important concept.

    Social Media has limitations. They are not always finite, but they are everywhere. For anyone looking to utilize social media for any purpose, the nature of the beast must be understood. The success of the initiative is contingent upon the limitations set upon the people involved. Social Media must be managed in a manner that reflects the audience.

  6. says

    Actually the Three major things that killed myspace were: 1. Rupert Murdoch, 2. CAPTCHAS, 3. Advertiser interruptions of content. Rupert Murdoch is not in touch with the Middle-Class or technology, nor has he ever been. No one wants to type Captchas in every time they want to leave a comment on someone’s page. And finally the most annoying thing of all, you’re listening to music, and some retarded obtrusive advertisement pops up, & starts spewing garbage.

    How about MySpace going back to it’s roots? The thing that made MySpace popular was the great degree of freedom you had when you created your page there! But Rupert Murdoch, and his people made short work of a once successful social networking site when they started making unwanted changes.

  7. says

    I get to MySpace when I was almost dead. And facebook was still starting. Now facebook is much more open and as I have read fresh news that it will be more. But you also commented that Twitter is becoming more important as this tomanod social network. Since companies are betting on it. Because he is much better prepared and structured facebook. And it’s much more controllable.

  8. says

    Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed surfing around your blog posts.
    In any case I’ll be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again soon!

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