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?
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