ADOTAS – When News Corp. bought MySpace in 2005, the site was on top of the social media world — 70,000 new users were signing up daily, Friendster’s luster had faded (in the U.S.) and Facebook was something for snobby college kids.
Four years later, Facebook is rivaling Google as the most useful tool on the Internet, Twitter has had a meteoric rise and MySpace… Well, the thrill is gone, baby, and not likely to return.
A thorough chronicle of MySpace’s decline by Michael Garrahan of The Financial Times is a must-read. Of particular interest to digital marketers will be how short-term ad revenue blinded the parent company to the necessity of site evolution.
According to former executives, MySpace was slow to incorporate Ajax, which allows users to publish comments and send messages without leaving a page, because News Corp. was seeing ad revenue pile up as users navigated page after page to perform functions. Facebook, on the other hand, scooped Ajax up, which made the site far faster and easier to use — and ultimately more attractive.
However, News Corp. execs snap back that the MySpace crew didn’t attempt to integrate Ajax until 2009. Bit of a he-said-she-said, but in several other examples the News Corp. staff refused to slim down MySpace because of ad revenue that would have been lost, but instead MySpace shed alienated users.