It’s never easy to resurrect a company in decline, never mind when the business in question is a social networking website. Nevertheless, that’s what MySpace’s owners are attempting to do as the former online juggernaut succumbs to the same disease—uncoolness—that brought down predecessors like GeoCities and Friendster. With traffic down 20 per cent and red ink leaking from every line of code, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. has unveiled a dramatic remake of the site in an attempt to win back users, many of whom have moved on to Facebook, which now boasts more than half a billion users, compared to about 120 million for MySpace.
The new look will be more streamlined and focused on music (traditionally one of the site’s strong points), an apparent response to criticisms that the site had become an unwieldy hodgepodge of garish profile pages that bogged down browsers. News Corp. has reportedly been considering its options for MySpace, including a possible sale, in a bid to recoup some of the US$580 million it paid for the property in 2006, a time when Facebook was merely a blip, albeit a fast-growing one, in the rear-view mirror. Either way, it may finally be time for diehards to think about turning off the lights.