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Myspace, previously stylized as MySpace and My______, is a social networking site that was the most visited social network in the world from 2005 until early 2008. After it was purchased in 2011 by Specific Media Group and entertainer Justin Timberlake in June 2011, the site began to focus primarily on discovering and sharing music.
In August 2003, a handful of employees from Los Angeles-based marketing company eUniverse (now Intermix Media) created an alternate social networking site to rival Friendster, the first social networking site to break 1 million members. The group built Myspace in 10 days, naming Chris DeWolfe as CEO and Tom Anderson as the initial president. eUniverse held an internal competition to acquire its first group of members, with a prize of $1,000 to the employee who signed up the most new members. The site grew exponentially in its first several months, surpassing Friendster’s monthly visitors within six months.
YTMND sites commenting on Myspace and its users were created as early as July 24th, 2004, with foreignsoda’s site criticizing Myspace for being “gay”. As of June 2013, there are more than 4,200 search results for “Myspace” on YTMND. In August 2004, Thomas’ Myspace Editor became the first site dedicated to generating CSS codes to customize Myspace profiles launched, followed by a number of now-defunct layout sharing sites.
News Corp. Acquisition
In June 2005, Rupert Murdoch’s media corporation News Corp purchased Myspace for $580 million dollars. Within a year, the site was valued at nearly 1.7 billion dollars. The following month, the New York Times published its first piece on the social network, noting that they had accrued more than 20 million members and had grown nearly 400% since the beginning of 2005. The piece also noted that users spent approximately 1 hour and 43 minutes on the site per month, compared to Facebook, which only saw 34 minutes of use per month at the time. The article attributes Myspace’s success to the many facets available on the network that were previously limited to single websites including classified ads, dating profiles, event invitations, instant-messaging capabilities and streaming music. That October, Myspace was reporting 24.2 million unique users and 11.6 billion page views per month. By 2007, Myspace was valued at $12 billion.
By July 2007, Myspace had lost 30% of its visitors under 18, who had begun migrating to Facebook. On April 19th, 2008, Facebook overtook Myspace’s Alexa rank knocking Myspace down to the sixth most visited website in the world. The following year, the company laid off 30% of its 1,600 employees after attempting a number of failed redesigns to breathe life back into the site. In 2010, Myspace attempted to rebrand itself as a social entertainment website, which did not meet expectations resulting in 10 million users leaving the site between January and February 2011. That February, News Corp. put the site up for sale, valuing it between $50-$200 million. It was purchased by Specific Media in June for $35 million. A few months later, in October 2011, News Corp. founder Rupert Murdoch called their initial purchase of Myspace a “huge mistake.”
On September 24th, 2012, stakeholder Justin Timberlake tweeted a video advertising a new Myspace, reincarnated as a social music site. It was retweeted more than 1,500 times, receiving a number of excited comments from Timberlake’s followers. A closed beta of the new site was offered, receiving mixed reviews. Music site NME embraced the new site, calling it a mix of YouTube, Pinterest and Spotify, while tech site Gizmodo called it a “chintzy web carnival” for trying to emulate too many other services at once. The site moved to open beta in January 2013, encouraging users to sign up to hear an exclusive track Timberlake’s latest album.
In June 2013, the site came out of beta and revealed an iPhone app complete with a GIF creator and the ability to create a personal radio station. They also launched a $20 million advertising campaign featuring dozens of celebrities (shown below) to show off how much the site has changed. At the same time, users began to report that their “classic” profiles carried over from the old site had been removed without warning, including their personal blogs and photos. In a thread on the Myspace help center on June 11th, Community Manager allencito offered a solution to retrieve old photographs, but noted that the blogs could not be restored at that time. He directed users to a help page for the new Myspace, telling them to vote on the idea of having the blogs recovered.
The MySpace Suicide Fad
The MySpace Suicide Fad began on YTMND in 2005 as a parody of a suicide note sent out by a teenage boy through a MySpace bulletin. The first YTMND site, titled “Myspace Emo Suicide” was created on December 1st, 2005 and has been viewed more than 118,000 times as of June 2013. Dozens of parody YTMNDs followed, resulting in a number of spin-off copypastas of the original bulletin.
MySpace Angles is the practice of photographing oneself from an elevated angle to obscure any perceived physical flaws. Though it unknown when or where the term originated, is was popularized in the short film Myspace The Movie (shown below), which was uploaded to YouTube in February 2006.
All Things Digital – Exclusive: Myspace to Be Sold to Specific Media for $35 Million
Los Angeles Times – News Corp.‘s Rupert Murdoch calls Myspace buy a ’huge mistake’