Is Myspace Juking the Stats to Push Through a Sale?

Activity on Myspace has been plunging for some time now, making it very difficult for the once powerful social network to sign new advertising deals, and prompting parent company News Corp. to put it up for sale.

The big redesign that rolled out a few months back was supposed to refocus the site and increase user engagement. But Mike Arrington found that over the two months from February to April, 2011, average time on the site dropped 48% and pageviews dropped a staggering 50%.

Those are numbers for the U.S., global stats are about half as bad.

At the same time, the number of unique visitors to Myspace, which is now becoming the most sought after metric, at least by Nick Denton’s calculations, suddenly leveled off. It seems unlikely that while all these other statistics that track user engagement continued to plummet, this one category would reverse course.

There are ways of course, to artificially boost traffic. It would be sensible during the ongoing negotiations for News Corp. to want a few bright spots to put in the pitch deck. But when all other signs are to the contrary, pay to play tactics might only increase the smell of desperation.

Is Myspace Juking the Stats to Push Through a Sale?