MySpace Downsizes in Hopes to Super Size Ad Sales for the Future

  • Posted by Steve Goldberg
  • |
  • January 14, 2011
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Everyone knows the social networking giant Facebook, but let’s not forget the little brother MySpace (yes, it still exists). In a round of layoffs to come, some 500 plus employees around the world are going be cut. According to MySpace, the overhaul in October allowed them to operate with less employees, and although MySpace wouldn’t make an official statement on savings, a source close to the site said, “the cuts, combined with a previous round of layoffs and office closures in June 2009, would save more than $200 million a year.” That’s a lot of money! But is this enough to really save the flailing MySpace from, imminent destruction? The answer? Maybe.

According the MySpace CEO, Mike Jones, since the restructuring of MySpace and changing its end goals, there has been, “A boost in viral activities, with over 10 million social actions and 90 million ‘follows’ within the Hubs and Topics categories,” according to Mr. Jones’ statement, as well as a rise of 4% in mobile users from November to December, now totaling over 22 million.” But what are hubs and topics, you may be asking yourself. MySpace recently launched Topic Pages, which connects users to entertainment-focused content from news sites, and it seems to be slowly catching on. According to Jones, over 134,000 topic pages have been created since the introduction of the new MySpace.

What does this mean for advertisers? It means that MySpace, while it is still in its revamping stage is almost new again. There is a prime opportunity to tap a market that uses MySpace for an altogether different reason than big brother, Facebook. MySpace is trying to re-brand itself as a music and celebrity news and entertainment site, which it can do if done right.

The same goes for the brands advertising on MySpace. The companies that advertise on this platform aren’t looking to create a social interaction like Facebook, but more so a strictly social ad/shopping platform. Take JetBlue for instance. Julie Coulton, head of digital media at Mullen, JetBlue’s agency of record said, “MySpace has slivers of an audience that JetBlue wants to reach, but mostly as a re-targeting opportunity on other sites, rather than direct brand engagement. That’s the opposite of JetBlue’s Facebook strategy (http://bit.ly/huPau1).” So JetBlue is using MySpace as another avenue of ad exposure, rather than a place to engage and build a brand, and I’m sure many other companies are doing the same thing.

All in all, MySpace has a long road ahead of itself in order to re-establish its once innovative utility, but I think all is not lost. Now that MySpace is focusing on howMySpace can be better as its own entity instead of how it can compete with Facebook, it should start picking up the pace. Will it be as big as Facebook? No, I don’t think so. Does it have a chance to be a bigger player in a niche market? Most definitely!

Original posts: http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2011/01/11/business/AP-US-MySpace-Cuts.html?_r=3&scp=2&sq=myspace&st=nyt

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