A dispatch from the sad saga of Myspace, the Tumblr-Facebook precursor once thought to be worth $327 million, comes to us from the Pew Center, which today issued a comparative report on “social networking services.” Myspace had a still-impressive 35 million visitors last month, according to comScore (although that number is dropping) and Pew has one statistic that contrasted starkly with the other social networks. A supermajority of Myspace’s users have been on the site for more than two years: 76 percent. For the other sites, that number is around 33 to 36 percent.
This is a reflection of Myspace’s inability to recruit new users, sure. Just three percent of its users joined in the last six months. But isn’t it a basic rule of sales that new customer acquisition is much more expensive than existing customer retention? Myspace’s users are highly familiar with the brand and the interface. Considering all the money flowing to start-ups whose main challenge is the struggle to recruit users, it’s hard to believe its corporate overloads (this bloodbath is all your fault anyway, News Corp.) are having so much trouble finding a buyer.The headlines about Twitter changing the world, Tumblr growing like crazy, and Facebook and LinkedIn’s IPOs must be rough on Myspace’s executives. But Myspace.com still has valuable technology, a sizable userbase, years of data, a front page with a lot of traffic on which ads can be placed, and a staff of social media veterans.
Tumblr’s David Karp studied Myspace’s missteps, he told Betabeat. Myspace employees told him among other things that the company had gotten bogged down with trying to bring musicians onto the platform, losing sight of other areas where they should have been innovating. If Myspace can share its lessons with Tumblr, why can’t it learn from them itself?
Recently, a brand-new social network got $40 million for a product with zero users, botched its launch, and then lost a co-founder. At the same time, AllThingsD says there is just one group of investors that wants to buy Myspace. What the hell?
Last year’s massive redesign, which restyled the brand to My[____]–note to CEO Mike Jones: not calling it that–now looks like News Corp.’s last-ditch effort to resurrect the network. Maybe this is News Corp.’s problem: It secretly believes the site is worthless. To believe otherwise would be to admit failure.
Incidentally, we’re wondering how Myspace developers introduce themselves in Beverly Hills bars given all the Myspace haterade. “I work at Myspace, haha. No, seriously.” Maybe they call it My[____]?