It seems that users have been fed up with Facebook and Twitter for nearly as long as each respective service has been around, and if only in day-dreams I think it’s safe to say that just about everyone has wished for the “perfect” social network to come along at one point or another. After opening its doors as an invite-only service on June 28th, yesterday officially marked the one month milestone for Google Plus.
It’s amazing how quickly things in life can change. Just a few short years ago social networking website MySpace was legendary and considered hip amongst the younger generation. Really, I remember a time when you would meet a person in line at a grocery store, and instead of swapping mobile numbers or even email addresses you would link up on MySpace. And the socially driven website wasn’t just a hit with run of the mill folk like you and me, either. Businesses, organizations, and bands from all areas flocked to MySpace as a mechanism to attract and keep up with fans and customers. Simply put, MySpace was the place to be on the Internet. Needless to say, the seemingly endless potential of the website was just too much for Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation who swept up the then-popular website in July of 2005 for an eye-popping $580 million.
Over the years, though, MySpace has gone south in more ways than one. Even after working to redefine its public image and re-attract user, the company was forced to lay off about 500 employees earlier this year. Why? The company simply wasn’t generating enough capital to justify the investments that News Corporation was putting into it. This said, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that the company sold off MySpace this week to Specific Media for a sum of $35 million. Sure, it’s a pretty chunk of change, but compared to what the site was worth just years ago I for one think it’s pretty pathetic.
After once having been a symbol of society’s social lifestyle, MySpace has lost a great deal of business and traffic over the last couple of years, and has ultimately become left in the dust as newer social networks such as Facebook steal the spotlight. Even after the overhaul that MySpace underwent a number of months ago, the fact still remains that MySpace is nowhere near as relevant in today’s society and culture as it was just a number of years ago. Things have gotten so bad for MySpace that News Corp – the company that currently owns the once prestige social giant – has handed out a series of pink slips to long-time MySpace employees and has even gone public that they would be more than willing to sell off the company if the right opportunity were to present itself.
Another company that is struggling in the social networking field is Google, Inc., who many people believe is gearing up to form a full-blown social network of their own, despite having tried (and failed) with a number of “social” ventures such as Google Wave and Google Buzz. With more recent news suggesting that Google is hiring a number of employees to work on social networking (among other things), it almost seems all to logical for Google to remedy their bad luck with social networking by purchasing and building upon the existing brand recognition and infrastructure held by purchasing MySpace.
It’s no secret that the once insanely popular social network MySpace has become a fading trend in recent years, and has been abandoned by magnitudes of users in favor of the now-popular Facebook. With a dying user-base, many have begun to speculate as to the fate of MySpace – now a subsidiary of media empire News Corp. In an effort to combat the downward trend that MySpace was heading in, the site received a number of overhauls last year – inclusive of a redesigned website and new mobile applications – which were meant to modernize the site and give it a chance at becoming prestige again.
While it was a bit unclear as to the exact direction that MySpace was headed in a post-modernized state, recent news coverage has made is apparent that the direction is down – especially for the nearly 500 employees who received pink-slips today from the website that was once seen as a dominant player on the Internet.
According to recent Nielsen data for June 2009, traffic to MySpace Music has grown 190% since its launch in September 2008 and year-over-year traffic to the URL has increased a whopping 1,017%. Additionally, MySpace Music the third largest music destination on the web (within that category of sites) only behind AOL Music and Yahoo! Music. While MySpace Music is still behind AOL and Yahoo! it is beating out other popular music oriented sites like MTV, MSN Music, and Pandora.
The majority of the traffic is coming from the age groups 12-17 and 18-24. Visitors between the ages 12 and 17 were 2.4 times more likely than the average active Internet user to visit MySpace Music, while visitors between 18 and 24 were 2.2 more likely than the average Internet user to visit the site in June. (See charts after the jump)