The death knells of the first generation of social media platforms continue. A day after Friendster announced that it would be deleting photos and blog posts from its platform, reports surface that News Corp is selling off Myspace and is starting the bidding at $100 million.
News Corp bought the one-time social media titan in 2005 for $580 million and it has been bleeding money for several years. The move by News Corp to accept bids is akin to a sports franchise that tries to trade an underperforming player to get some nominal value before it has to just cut its losses and release him from the team.
According to Reuters some of the bids are likely to come from Chinese Internet holding company Tencent; Criterion Capital, which is the owner of social networking site Bebo; and Myspace co-founder Chris De Wolf, among others. Back in February we reported that social networking and gaming platform MocoSpace was interested in Myspace but it looks like not much came out of those talks.
Myspace has tried to recreate itself as a gaming, music and entertainment platform. It launched an email platform in July, 2009 that caught some traction but not enough to stop the hemorrhaging. The slow death of Myspace is akin to the transformation that has happened at AOL where the one-time giant service provider has turned into a content platform. Yet, where AOL has been buoyed by legacy money from its service provider days, News Corp has no such source of income from Myspace to fall back on.
Twitter passed Myspace in September 2010 as the third most trafficked “social media” site on the Web, according to comScore (even if Twitter is not exactly “social media”). It was said to be working on some “big stealth projects” last August but there has been no real news on what that could be since. Myspace was said to be looking for developers with “killer Ruby on Rails skills and experience with MySQL, NoSQL, Linux, Apache.” The platform did launch Myspace.com/Everything, a hub for celebrity news and gossip, in the meantime. Yet, if that is the major innovation happening at Myspace these days it is no wonder that News Corp finally wants to rid itself of the burden.