Five months after a redesign back in January, which failed to spark the turnaround the company had hoped for, it seems that the curtains are finally closing on this chapter of social networking history, leaving behind a lesson for other would-be greats: Don’t put off a redesign. By the time it was implemented, it was already painfully clear to everyone that Myspace had lost their space to Facebook. It seemed to take a little longer for them to catch on and that delay may have cost them their recovery.
The new design was supposed to target a market that was already blooming on the site: musicians and media-sharing. A number of famed artists and bands had cultivated followers through the original Myspace and subsequently launched their careers, and Myspace saw an opportunity, but there was simply too much about the site itself which hindered the new direction from gaining steam.
The site was described by former Facebook CEO Sean Parker as a “junk heap of bad design” in an interview with Jimmy Fallon at the NExTWORK Conference. In the TechCrunch article reporting on the interview, Parker was quoted as saying, “There was a period of time where if they had just copied Facebook rapidly, they would have been Facebook.”
Where Facebook represented a controlled, but personal platform for customization, Myspace was an html free-for-all, making for ghastly user pages and an ultimately juvenile experience. The element of social interconnection was its main attraction and when Facebook took that over and slapped a prettier face on it, Myspace users typically stuck their feet in both doors before eventually transitioning, abandoning their Myspace accounts.
Others, like me, never had a Myspace account. With no desire to join a social forum that had garnered the reputation of one of those bawdy, early Internet chatrooms, I took a chance on Facebook because a friend of mine told me how easy it was to connect with old flesh-and-blood friends as opposed to ethically/sexually ambiguous strangers.
The sale price of Myspace, originally tagged at $100 million—Newscorp’s asking price—is now reportedly down to approximately $30 million. For that price, the buyer would acquire Myspace’s current users and a possible opportunity to do salvage something from the remains.