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What Happened to MySpace? The Fall of the Social Giant

Updated: Apr 3


Publication date: 12.03.2024


MySpace could be compared a flashy firework – it sparked bright, but only for a certain while. Now commemorated as a relic of the 2000s, it once used to brag unmatched popularity. And yet, the social-media behemoth managed to die down before smartphones became a commonplace phenomenon. So, what brought on such an unexpected conclusion to what appeared to be a story of miraculous success ?



Shooting for the Moon


MySpace was conceptualiezd in the early 2000s by two visionary minds, Chris DeWolfe & Tom Anderson. The venture was considered to be a risky one, to put it mildly. Early in the 21st century, few people took the Internet seriously, let alone consider it a legitimate business platform. In what others deemed an unwelcome environment, the founders foresaw potential. Thus, in 2003, MySpace officially launched online.


The Secret Ingredient to Success


The daring investment paid off almost immediately. Thanks to limited competition on the market, MySpace quickly took the world by storm. People were drawn to the website because it felt personal and provided a lot of opportunities for self-expression. User profiles offered detailed customization, music playlists were a local web-cultural staple, the list goes on. People connected by sharing common interests and formed bonds rooted in passion for pop-culture and art. 


Reaping Fruit from the Money Tree


Generally, MySpace’s golden age is considered to have spanned from 2005, when the business was acquired for $580 million by NewsCorp, a mass media and publishing company, to 2009, when it reached a staggering valuation of $12 billion. 

 

Also, in 2005, a proposition came up to purchase Facebook. Ironically, the management thought it to be a poor investment. At the time, the soon-to-be social-media champion would only generate a 10th of MySpace's traffic. The suggested cost of $75 million appeared sky-high. If only one could look into the future.



MySpace’s “Three Reasons Why”


As the title suggests, the success was not destined to last. Eventually, things began to go downhill. Perhaps the first warning shot was when Facebook, previously considered a runner-up to MySpace, finally overtook its rival in 2008. The gap between the two grew dramatically ever since.


How did that happen? One could point to several contributing factors.


  • One of them was the architecture of the site, its foundation relying on an old programming software, ColdFusion. If at the dawn of the 2000s it was considered innovative, the same could not be said by the end of the decade. The developers were critically restricted in terms of features and updates they could contribute to the website.

  • Secondly, a big portion of the credit goes to the company’s rigid and restricting management policy. Following the acquisition by NewsCorp, most executive decisions began to prioritize ad revenue above all else. Little thought was given to developing and enhancing user experience. The inescapable in-the-face marketing turned into a real struggle for most visitors.

  • The final factor was the cultural shift in the public’s perception of the Internet in general. What was previously considered a liberating, creative dimension proved to have another side of the coin. Awareness spread about lack of regulation regarding underage users, dubious content, data security, privacy, viruses, spam, etc. MySpace failed to come forth with any vital features to meet the demands for a better moderated, well-managed network.


The Disowning of MySpace


Traffic losses consistently grew more dramatic. Eventually, NewsCorp, shifted focus to more successful projects, and the business was sold and bought several times within the few following years.


Legacy and Reflection


Several attempts have been made to rebrand the site, amounting to little to no success. Nowadays, MySpace is mostly a website for music enthusiasts – music has always played an important part in the brand’s identity. However, it’s nowhere near as popular today as it once used to be.

 

At the same time, a lot of people cherish the memories of the website with a certain sentimental warmth in their hearts. After all, one could argue that it’s far more gratifying to make an impact and bow out gracefully than to maintain a lasting yet inconsequential existence. 



 

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