Myspace (originally stylized as MySpace and currently stylized as myspace) is an American social networking service. From 2005 to 2008, it was the largest social networking site in the world, reaching more than 100 million users per month.
Myspace was acquired by News Corporation in July 2005 for $580 million, and in June 2006 surpassed Yahoo! and Google to become the most visited website in the United States. In April 2008, Myspace was overtaken by Facebook in the number of unique worldwide visitors. In May 2009, Facebook surpassed Myspace in the number of unique U.S. visitors. Myspace generated $800 million in revenue during the 2008 fiscal year. Since then, the number of Myspace users has declined steadily despite several redesigns.
Myspace has had a significant influence on technology, pop culture and music. It was the first social network to reach a global audience. It played a critical role in the early growth of companies like YouTube, and created a developer platform that launched the successes of Zynga, RockYou, and Photobucket, among others. Despite an overall decline, in 2015 Myspace still had 50.6 million unique monthly visitors and had a pool of over 1 billion active and inactive registered users.
In June 2009, Myspace employed approximately 1,600 employees. In June 2011, Specific Media Group and Justin Timberlake jointly purchased the company for approximately $35 million. On February 11, 2016, it was announced that Myspace and its parent company had been purchased by Time Inc. for $87 million. Time Inc. was in turn purchased by the Meredith Corporation on January 31, 2018.
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, and 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. It was during this early period, in June 2003, just prior to the birth of Myspace, that Jeffrey Edell was brought on as Chairman of parent company Intermix Media.
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. For example, users could customize the background, look, and feel of pages on Myspace.
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 late 2003, 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. Myspace quickly gained popularity among teenagers and young adults. In February 2005, DeWolfe held talks with Mark Zuckerberg over acquiring Facebook but DeWolfe rejected Zuckerberg's offer to sell Facebook to him for $75 million. 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, News Corporation purchased Myspace for US$580 million. At the time of the acquisition, the company was seeing 16 million monthly users and growing exponentially. 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. 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".
Post-acquisition, Myspace continued its exponential growth. In January, 2006, Myspace was signing up 200,000 new users per day. A year later, Myspace was registering 320,000 users per day, and had overtaken Yahoo to become the most visited website in the USA. ComScore said a key driver of the site's US success was high “engagement levels” with the average Myspace user viewing more than 660 pages per month.
In January 2006, Fox announced plans to launch a UK version of Myspace. During 2006, Myspace launched localized versions of the product in 11 countries across Europe, Asia and the Americas. At the time, senior vice-president for international operations, Travis Katz, reported that 30 million of the company's 90 million users were coming from outside of the United States.
The 100 millionth account was created on August 9, 2006, in the Netherlands.
In August, 2006, Myspace signed a landmark advertising deal with Google. The deal guaranteed Myspace $900 million over three years, nearly double the price News Corp had paid to acquire the business. In exchange, Google received exclusive rights to provide Web search results and sponsored links on Myspace. When the deal was signed, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt said "When we looked at what was growing on the Web, all our internal metrics pointed to [Myspace]...It's important to move Google to where users are, and that is where user-generated content is."
By October, 2006, the site had grown from generating $1 million in revenue per month to $30 million per month, half of which came from the Google deal. The remaining 50% came from display advertising sold by Myspace's in-house sales team.
By mid-2007, Myspace was the largest social-networking site in every European country where it had created a local presence. By July, 2007, Nielsen//NetRatings reported the company's "active reach," or the percentage of the population that visits Myspace, was anywhere from 10 to 15 times higher in Spain, France, and Germany than for runner-up Facebook, and in the UK, Myspace led Facebook by two-to-one in terms of reach.
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.
By late 2007 and into 2008, Myspace was considered the leading social networking site, and consistently beat out the main competitor Facebook in traffic. Initially, the emergence of Facebook did little to diminish Myspace's popularity; at the time, Facebook was targeted only at college students.
On April 19, 2008, Facebook overtook Myspace in the Alexa rankings. Since then, Myspace has seen a continuing loss of membership. There are several suggested explanations for its decline, including the fact that it stuck to a "portal strategy" of building an audience around entertainment and music, whereas Facebook and Twitter continually added new features to improve the social-networking experience.
A former Myspace executive suggested that the $900 million three-year advertisement deal with Google, while being a short-term cash windfall, was a handicap in the long run. That deal required Myspace to place even more ads on its already heavily advertised space, which made the site slow, more difficult to use, and less flexible. Myspace could not experiment with its own site without forfeiting revenue, while rival Facebook was rolling out a new clean site design. Myspace CEO Chris DeWolfe reported that he had to push back against Fox Interactive Media's sales team who monetized the site without regard to user experience. In an interview in 2012, Katz described how News Corp had put a lot of pressure on Myspace to "focus on near-term monetization, as opposed to thinking about long-term product strategy," while Facebook focused user engagement over revenue.
While Facebook focused on creating a platform that allowed outside developers to build new applications, Myspace built everything in-house. Shawn Gold, Myspace's former head of marketing and content, said "Myspace went too wide and not deep enough in its product development. We went with a lot of products that were shallow and not the best products in the world." The products division had introduced many features (communication tools such as instant messaging, a classifieds program, a video player, a music player, a virtual karaoke machine, a self-serve advertising platform, profile-editing tools, security systems, privacy filters, and Myspace book lists, among others). However, the features were often buggy and slow as there was insufficient testing, measuring, and iterating.
Danah Boyd, a senior researcher at Microsoft Research, noted of social networking websites that Myspace and others were a very peculiar business—one in which companies might serially rise, fall, and disappear, as "Influential peers pull others in on the climb up—and signal to flee when it's time to get out." The volatility of social networks was exemplified in 2006 when Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal launched an investigation into children's exposure to pornography on Myspace; the resulting media frenzy and Myspace's inability to build an effective spam filter gave the site a reputation as a "vortex of perversion." Around that time, specialized social media companies such as Twitter formed and began targeting Myspace users, while Facebook rolled out communication tools which were seen as safe in comparison to Myspace. Boyd compared the shift of white, middle-class kids from the "seedy" Myspace to the "supposedly safer haven" of Facebook, to the "white flight" from American cities; the perception of Myspace eventually drove advertisers away as well. In addition, Myspace had particular problems with vandalism, phishing, malware, and spam which it failed to curtail, making the site seem inhospitable.
These have been cited as factors why users, who as teenagers were Myspace's strongest audience in 2006 and 2007, had been migrating to Facebook. Facebook, which started strongly with the 18-to-24 group (mostly college students), has been much more successful than Myspace at attracting older users.
Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch was said to be frustrated that Myspace never met expectations, as a distribution outlet for Fox studio content, and missing the US$1 billion mark in total revenues. That resulted in DeWolfe and Anderson gradually losing their status within Murdoch's inner circle of executives, plus DeWolfe's mentor Peter Chernin, the President and COO of News Corp. who was based in Los Angeles, departed the company in June 2009. Former AOL executive Jonathan Miller, who joined News Corp in charge of the digital media business, was in the job for three weeks when he shuffled Myspace's executive team in April 2009. Myspace President Tom Anderson stepped down while Chris DeWolfe was replaced as Myspace CEO by former Facebook COO Owen Van Natta. A News Corp. meeting in March 2009 over the direction of Myspace was reportedly the catalyst for that management shakeup, with the Google search deal about to expire, the departure of key personnel (Myspace's COO, SVP of engineering, and SVP of strategy) to form a startup. Furthermore, the opening of extravagant new offices around the world was questioned, as rival Facebook did not have similarly expensive expansion plans yet it still attracted international users at a rapid rate. The changes to Myspace's executive ranks was followed in June 2009 by a layoff of 37.5% of its workforce (including 30% of its U.S. employees), reducing employees from 1,600 to 1,000.
Myspace has attempted to redefine itself as a social entertainment website, with more of a focus on music, movies, celebrities, and television instead of a social networking website. Myspace also developed a linkup with Facebook that would allow musicians and bands to manage their Facebook profiles. CEO Mike Jones was quoted as saying that Myspace now is a "complementary offer" to Facebook Inc.
In March 2011, market research figures released by Comscore suggested that Myspace had lost 10 million users between January and February 2011 and that it had fallen from 95 million to 63 million unique users during the previous twelve months. Myspace registered its sharpest audience declines in February 2011, as traffic fell 44% from a year earlier to 37.7 million unique U.S. visitors. Advertisers have been reported as unwilling to commit to long-term deals with the site.
In late February 2011, News Corp officially put the site up for sale; it was estimated to be worth $50–200 million. Losses from last quarter of 2010 were $156 million, over double the previous year, which dragged down the otherwise strong results of parent News Corp. The deadline for bids, May 31, 2011, passed without any above the reserve price of $100 million being submitted It has been said that the decline in users during the most recent quarter deterred several potential suitors.
On June 29, 2011, Myspace announced to label partners and press via email that it had been acquired by Specific Media for an undisclosed sum, rumored to be a figure as low as $35 million. CNN reported that Myspace sold for $35 million, and noted that it was "far less than the $580 million News Corp. paid for Myspace in 2005." Rupert Murdoch went on to call the Myspace purchase a "huge mistake." Time Magazine compared News Corporation's purchase of Myspace to Time Warner's purchase of AOL – a conglomerate trying to stay ahead of the competition. Many former executives have gone on to further success after departing Myspace.
Meredith went on to sell a number of Time Inc's assets, including - as it announced on 4 Nov 2019 - selling back to Viant Technology Holding Inc. its equity in Viant, the parent company of Specific Media since 2008 and so of Myspace since Specific Media's acquisition of MySpace in 2011.
In May 2016, the data for almost 360 million Myspace accounts was offered on the "Real Deal" dark market website. The leaked data included email addresses, usernames and weakly encrypted passwords (SHA1 hashes of the first 10 characters of the password converted to lowercase and stored without a cryptographic salt). The exact data breach date is unknown, but analysis of the data suggests it was exposed around eight years before being made public, around mid-2008 to early-2009.
Since YouTube's founding in 2005, Myspace users had the ability to embed YouTube videos in their Myspace profiles. Realizing the competitive threat to the new Myspace Videos service, Myspace banned embedded YouTube videos from its user profiles. Myspace users widely protested the ban, prompting Myspace to lift it shortly thereafter.
There were a variety of environments in which users could access Myspace content on their mobile phone. American mobile phone provider Helio released a series of mobile phones in early 2006 that could utilize a service known as Myspace Mobile to access and edit one's profile and communicate with and view the profiles of other members. Additionally, UIEvolution and Myspace developed a mobile version of Myspace for a wider range of carriers, including AT&T, Vodafone and Rogers Wireless.
Myspace began offering classified ads in August 2006, which grew by 33 percent during the following year.
Shortly after Myspace was sold to News Corporation in 2005, the website launched their own record label, MySpace Records, as JD Mangosing the CEO and new innovation in an effort to discover unknown talent on Myspace Music. Artists can upload their songs, EPs, and full-length albums onto Myspace. As of June 2014, over 53 million songs have been uploaded to Myspace by 14.2 million artists. Artists such as The Summer Obsession, Lily Allen, Owl City, Hollywood Undead, Waka Flocka Flame, Just Surrender, Cute Is What We Aim For, Sean Kingston, Washed Out, Arctic Monkeys, Copeland, Paramore, Katy Perry, Colbie Caillat, The Cab, Tyga, 3OH!3, Secondhand Serenade, Lil Durk, Ice Nine Kills, Bring Me The Horizon and Drop Dead, Gorgeous all gained fame and recognition through Myspace. Over eight million artists have been discovered by Myspace. In late 2007, the site launched The MySpace Transmissions, a series of live-in-studio recordings by well known artists.
On March 18, 2019, it was revealed that Myspace had lost all their user content from 2015 and earlier in botched server migration, with no backup. Over 50 million songs and 12 years' worth of content were permanently lost. In April 2019, the Internet Archive recovered 490,000 MP3s (1.3 terabytes) "using unknown means by an anonymous academic study conducted between 2008 and 2010." The songs, which were uploaded between 2008 and 2010, are collectively known as the MySpace Dragon Hoard.
Myspace served as an inexpensive distribution hub for Black musical artists. This easy distribution of music created another avenue with which Black music could be spread. The internet itself proved to be a powerful force in creating fanbases for many artists. Not only did artists use Myspace to distribute their music, they used it to connect to their audience. Musical blogs on Myspace helped to inform an artist's fanbase of future or canceled shows. Black artists blew up in popularity because of this system of promotion and distribution. Soulja Boy was one of the first and most prolific users of musical Myspace. As a young artist, he received millions of views online from Myspace and YouTube. Not only were his views and plays skyrocketing, but so was his presence offline: in the classrooms, in the streets, everywhere around the US there was a dance or phrase that Soulja originated. Other artists across different Black musical genres followed in Soulja's footsteps. More and more hip-hop, R&B, and Grime artists used Myspace to gain popularity.
On May 16, 2007, Myspace partnered with news publications National Geographic, the New York Times and Reuters to provide professional visual contents on its social-networking Web site.
On April 21, 2008, Myspace had signed a deal with Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios. The deal brought Entertainment Studios programming like the syndicated shows "Comics Unleashed With Byron Allen," "Entertainers With Byron Allen," "Beautiful Homes and Great Estates" and "Designer Fashions & Runways" to MySpaceTV.
On March 10, 2010, Myspace added some new features, like a recommendation engine for new users that suggests games, music, and videos based on their previous search habits. The security on Myspace was also accounted to, with the criticism of Facebook, to make it a safer site. The security of Myspace enables users to choose if the content could be viewed for Friends Only, 18 and older, or Everyone. The website will also release several mobile micro-applications for Myspace gamers besides sending them games alerts. The site may release 20 to 30 micro apps and go mobile in 2011.
In October 2010, Myspace introduced a beta version of a new site design on a limited scale, with plans to switch all interested users to the new site in late November. Chief executive Mike Jones said the site was no longer competing with Facebook as a general social networking site. Instead, Myspace would be music-oriented and would target younger people. Jones believed most younger users would continue to use the site after the redesign, though older users might not. The goal of the redesign was to increase the number of Myspace users and how long they spend there. BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield said, "Most investors have written off MySpace now," and he was unsure whether the changes would help the company recover.
In November 2010, Myspace changed its logo to coincide with the new site design. The word "my" appears in the Helvetica font, followed by a symbol representing a space. The logo change was announced on October 8, 2010, and appeared on the site on November 11, 2010. Also that month, Myspace integrated with Facebook Connect – calling it "Mash Up with Facebook" in an announcement widely seen as the final act of acknowledging Facebook's domination of the social networking industry.
In September 2012, a new redesign was announced (but no date given) making Myspace more visual and apparently optimized for tablets.
By April 2013 (presumably before), users were able to transfer to the new Myspace redesign.
In June 2013, a Myspace redesign resulted in users losing access to all of their previous blog material. Users who lost access to their contributions and historians have lamented this sudden and unannounced deletion of access.
Since early 2006, Myspace has offered the option to access the service in different regional versions. The alternative regional versions present automated content according to locality (e.g., UK users see other UK users as "Cool New People," and UK-oriented events and adverts, etc.), offer local languages other than English, or accommodate the regional differences in spelling and conventions in the English-speaking world (e.g., United States: "favorites," mm/dd/yyyy; the rest of the world: "favourites," dd/mm/yyyy).
On February 5, 2008, Myspace set up a developer platform which allows developers to share their ideas and write their own Myspace applications. The opening was inaugurated with a workshop at the Myspace offices in San Francisco two weeks before the official launch. The MDP is based on the OpenSocial API which was presented by Google in November 2007 to support social networks to develop social and interacting widgets and can be seen as an answer to Facebook's developer platform. The first public beta of the Myspace Apps was released on March 5, 2008, with around 1,000 applications available.
At QCon London 2008, Myspace Chief Systems Architect Dan Farino indicated that Myspace was sending 100 gigabits of data per second out to the Internet, of which 10 gigabits was HTML content and the remainder was media such as videos and pictures. The server infrastructure consists of over 4,500 web servers (running Windows Server 2003, IIS 6.0, ASP.NET and .NET Framework 3.5), over 1,200 cache servers (running 64-bit Windows Server 2003), and over 500 database servers (running 64-bit Windows Server 2003 and SQL Server 2005) as well as a custom distributed file system which runs on Gentoo Linux.
Myspace operates[when?] solely on revenues generated by advertising as its revenue model possesses no user-paid features. Through its Web site and affiliated ad networks, Myspace collects data about its users and utilizes behavioral targeting to select the ads each visitor sees.
Companies such as Slide.com and RockYou were all launched on Myspace as widgets providing additional functionality to the site. Other sites created layouts to personalize the site and made hundreds of thousands of dollars for its owners most of whom were in their late teens and early twenties.
In November 2008, Myspace announced that user-uploaded content that infringed on copyrights held by MTV and its subsidiary networks would be redistributed with advertisements that would generate revenue for the companies.
On November 18, 2009, Myspace Music acquired Imeem for less than $1 million in cash. Myspace stated that they would be transitioning Imeem's users and migrating all their play lists over to Myspace Music. On January 15, 2010, Myspace began restoring Imeem playlists.
Along with its website redesign, Myspace also completely redesigned their mobile application. The redesigned app in the Apple App Store was released in early June 2013. The app features a tool for users to create and edit gif images and post them to their Myspace stream. The app also allows users to stream available "live streams" of concerts. New users are able to join Myspace from the app by signing in with Facebook or Twitter or by signing up with email.
The app allows users to play Myspace radio channels from the device. Users can select from genre stations, featured stations, and user or artist stations. A user can build their own station by connecting and listening to songs on Myspace's desktop website. The user is given six skips per station.