MySpace sold for $35 million, 5 years after being most popular site in the US

Just five years ago MySpace was the most popular site in the US and considered a bargain when it was sold for $580 million to News Corp. Now, MySpace was sold for just $35 million.

We’ll be talking more about MySpace’s rise and fall on the podcast this week. My initial thoughts on this are:

  • MySpace’s failure shows you what happens when an old media company such as News Corp. tries to manage a social network. The site stagnated incredibly and seemed to have no interest in trying to compete with Facebook. Constant innovation is required to be a successful website platform. If anything, people complain that Facebook makes too many changes. But change is necessary.
  • Usability and design matter. MySpace was hard to use because its design was so poor. It was a technological, design and usability backwater compared to Facebook.
  • Less is more. Facebook doesn’t allow much customization, certainly nowhere near what MySpace allowed users. Most people don’t have taste. Users’ poor design decisions made most people’s profiles a nightmare to use. We’re talking about huge background photos that made text hard to read, songs that started playing on load, photo galleries that popped up out of nowhere. It’s almost hard to believe that someone would make a social network like that.
  • Mobile sealed MySpace’s fate. Facebook has great mobile apps, particularly the iPhone app. Look at how many people are posting to Facebook these days from mobile apps. Facebook embraced mobile apps early, and has a product that meshes really well with mobile. Post a short status update on the go or share a photo or see what your friends are doing. Facebook is a great way to kill time, especially when you’re waiting on a friend to meet for coffee, or on a train, or are waiting to be seated at a restaurant. Facebook gets that mobile is the future.