August 2003...After seeing the launch of Friendster in 2002, a group of eUniverse staff were inspired to launch their own social network site using the infrastructure already available at their firm. Myspace.com, initially intended to be a data-storage domain, was promoted through eUniverse’s database of 20 million users and e-mail subscribers. Within a year, its focus changed from a storage site to an SNS.
July 2005...Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp announces it will buy MySpace for US$580 million. According to reports at the time, MySpace was actively signing up 150,000 new users a day and claimed 24.2 million unique users. The acquisition came as MySpace further monopolised the social networking scene, offering users the opportunity to upload text, photos and music to their pages, the last of which made it a household name for younger audiences across the Western world.
June 2009...MySpace lays off 30 per cent of its workforce in a bid to become more efficient, bringing its staffing level more in line with its now more popular rival Facebook. The move, the latest cost-cutting effort at the site, comes less than two months after former Facebook executive Owen Van Natta (right), 39, is hired as its new chief executive.
February 2010…Van Natta departs less than a year after being hired from Facebook to help revive the social networking site’s slumping finances. According to reports, Van Natta’s departure followed a turbulent few months at MySpace in which he expressed frustration at the company’s inability to quickly adopt changes. Further reports noted that he struggled to make an impression during his tenure. Van Natta is replaced by COO Mike Jones and chief product officer Jason Hirschorn.
Fast forward...MySpace may become irrelevant if it doesn’t learn to adapt faster. Rupert Murdoch even admitted that MySpace was “still not where we want it.” The change in command at MySpace signals a move to change the company’s strategy and culture, and try to regain some momentum against rival Facebook. Despite losing popularity to Facebook and Twitter, Murdoch says he has no plans to sell off MySpace, nor to buy Twitter.
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This article was originally published in the 25 February 2010 issue of Media.