Myspace (previously stylized as MySpace and My_____) is a social networking service with a strong music emphasis owned by Specific Media LLC and pop music singer and actor Justin Timberlake. Myspace was launched in August 2003 and is headquartered in Beverly Hills, California. In June 2012, Myspace had 25 million unique U.S. visitors.
MySpace had a significant influence in pop culture and music and created a gaming platform that launched the successes of Zynga and Rock You, among others. The site also started the trend of creating unique URLs for companies and artists.
In June 2009, Myspace employed approximately 1,600 workers. Since then the company has undergone several rounds of layoffs and by June 2011, Myspace had reduced its staff to around 200. In June 2011, Specific Media Group and Justin Timberlake jointly purchased the company for approximately $35 million.
In August 2003, several eUniverse employees with Friendster accounts saw potential in its social networking features. The group decided to mimic the more popular features of the website. Within 10 days, the first version of Myspace was ready for launch, implemented using ColdFusion. A complete infrastructure of finance, human resources, technical expertise, bandwidth, and server capacity was available for the site. The project was overseen by Brad Greenspan (eUniverses Founder, Chairman, CEO), who managed Chris DeWolfe (MySpaces starting CEO), Josh Berman, Tom Anderson (MySpaces starting president), and a team of programmers and resources provided by eUniverse.
The first Myspace users were eUniverse employees. The company held contests to see who could sign up the most users. eUniverse used its 20 million users and e-mail subscribers to breathe life into MySpace, and move it to the head of the pack of social networking websites. A key architect was tech expert Toan Nguyen who helped stabilize the Myspace platform when Brad Greenspan asked him to join the team. Co-founder and CTO Aber Whitcomb played an integral role in software architecture, utilizing the, then, superior development speed of ColdFusion over other dynamic database driven server-side languages of the time. Despite over ten times the number of developers, Friendster, which was developed in JavaServer Pages (jsp), could not keep up with the speed of development of Myspace and cfm.
The MySpace.com domain was originally owned by YourZ.com, Inc., intended until 2002 for use as an online data storage and sharing site. By 2004, it was transitioned from a file storage service to a social networking site. A friend, who also worked in the data storage business, reminded Chris DeWolfe that he had earlier bought the domain MySpace.com. DeWolfe suggested they charge a fee for the basic Myspace service. Brad Greenspan nixed the idea, believing that keeping Myspace free was necessary to make it a successful community.
Myspace quickly gained popularity among teenage and young adult social groups.
Some employees of Myspace, including DeWolfe and Berman, were able to purchase equity in the property before MySpace and its parent company eUniverse (now renamed Intermix Media) was bought. In July 2005, in one of the companys first major Internet purchases, Rupert Murdochs News Corporation (the parent company of Fox Broadcasting and other media enterprises) purchased Myspace for US$580 million. News Corporation had beat out Viacom by offering a higher price for the website, and the purchase was seen as a good investment at the time. Of the $580 million purchase price, approximately $327 million has been attributed to the value of Myspace according to the financial adviser fairness opinion. Within a year, Myspace had tripled in value from its purchase price. Tom Freston, chief executive officer of ViaCom, meanwhile lost his job soon after losing the bidding war for Myspace. News Corporation saw the purchase as a way to capitalize on Internet advertising, and drive traffic to other News Corporation properties.
In January 2006, Fox announced plans to launch a UK version of Myspace in a bid to "tap into the UK music scene" which they have since done. They released a version in China and have since launched similar versions in other countries.
On November 1, 2007, Myspace and Bebo joined the Google-led OpenSocial alliance, which already included Friendster, Hi5, LinkedIn, Plaxo, Ning and SixApart. OpenSocial was to promote a common set of standards for software developers to write programs for social networks. Facebook remained independent. Google had been unsuccessful in building its own social networking site (Orkut was succeeding in Brazil but struggling in the U.S.) and was using the alliance to present a counterweight to Facebook.
On April 19, 2008, Facebook overtook Myspace in the Alexa rankings.
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