MySpace has just changed hands. On the day Google announces the launch of its own social networking system (the only real threat to Facebook in the next 10 years), MySpace, once the favourite hang-out for teenagers, pop bands and bored students, was passed from one company to another in a transaction that will mostly go unnoticed.
MySpace was launched in 2003 and by 2006 it was the most popular social networking website. It held this position for 2 years until Facebook eventually picked up speed. Since then it is been sitting quietly in Facebook’s shadow.
If you want proof that MySpace is effectively dead at the moment, just look at Lily Allen’s profile. She used MySpace to great effect to promote herself. Her account was set up in November 2005 and was once one of the most popular celebrities on MySpace. Her music had almost 72 million plays on her homepage alone. But Lily has not signed in since 2010. Her Facebook page has 1,848,311 fans and is still active with regular updates. Lily does still has 410,369 friends on MySpace, not bad for someone who does not use it!
Newscorp bought MySpace and its parent company, Intermix, in 2005. It has apparently been trying to sell MySpace since around 2008 when it started losing out to Facebook. After reaching a peak of 76 million monthly users MySpace started losing over a million customers a month, all of them going to Facebook.
One of the biggest problems that MySpace had (sorry, has) is that users could design their own pages. This meant that many pages simply looked awful. When so many poorly designed pages, which are also covered in adverts, are in the public domain people are bound to be put off. In comparison Facebook is like a clean canvas. To learn more about the rise and fall of MySpace read the excellent article over at Business Week: The Rise and Inglorious Fall of Myspace.
Who Owns MySpace?
Specific Media is primarily an online advertising network. It was formed in 1999 by the Vanderhook brothers (Tim, Chris and Russell Vanderhook) from California, and originally operated under the name Advertisement Banners.
In 2007 they purchased the UK digital media company AdViva. Specific Media focus on demographic, behavioral, contextual, and geographic ad targeting. They are an innovative business and certainly not afraid to experiment in new areas of online advertising. A few days ago they reported on their improvements in online video for advertising.
Specific Media has been seen as a viable target for Google for a while and their acquisition today could be a signal that they do not plan to sell out any time soon. They are growing their own business and expanding into social networking.
Facebook has its own lucrative advertising network, Google has its famous Adwords system, and soon MySpace will have full access to the Specific Media network, should they decide to take that route.
The last month has been very exciting for tech stocks. We have had LinkedIn and Yandex flotations, Groupon IPO, Google moving into social media and now a possible revival MySpace in the hands of Specific Media.
Next year everyone is expecting the Facebook IPO too. Now that will be interesting.