There’s carnage at MySpace. Almost 800 jobs cut within a week and the closed sign is being hung up around the world. It looks like today we are seeing the social media map being reshaped.
Last week MySpace laid off 420 staff in its US offices. Today it has cut a further 300 internationally and is closing down a host of offices as it retrenches and faces up to its place in the world.
In the new world order of MySpace, London, Berlin, and Sydney will be the primary regional hubs for MySpace as offices in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France, India, Italy, Mexico, Russia, Sweden, and Spain get the chop as has Travis Katzis, the MySpace SVP and MD, who is leaving, having grown staff around the world from two to more than 400.
The cuts have come as new MySpace CEO Owen Van Natta has been given the job of re-envisioning the social networking site and helping it “operate as a nimble and entrepreneurial company with the adaptive mentality of a start-up”.
That has come against a backdrop of MySpace usage falling rapidly away. In the last year the number of minutes spent on the site has fallen by 31% (although it remains top for video) while Facebook soared 700%.
MySpace has lost its place as a general social networking site and these tough cuts are obvious signs that it has accepted this.
Where MySpace is strong, is in music and video or entertainment more generally. As a place for promoting new music and bands, as well as movies, MySpace has its niche, but is that enough?
I saw a headline last week on Adage, which posed this question neatly: Can Bruno (as in Sasha Baron Cohen) save MySpace? Or “MeinSpace” as the campy Austrian character calls it.
‘Bruno’ is another movie that has close ties with MySpace, which has a special MeinSpace.com hosted page.
The story detailed how ‘Bruno’ was only part of MySpace efforts to forge deep ties with the entertainment industry and major studios.
Something seems to be working. Bruno has 330,000-odd friends on MySpace, but only 31,500 on Facebook and around 14,000 followers on Twitter (who are these people?) where his username is @brunovassup.
For MySpace this is retrenchment, but clearly the right thing to do and from its perspective it is clearly better for it to embrace this rather simply try to continue to compete as a more general social networking site such as Facebook.
This suggests several things. There are a whole bunch of special interest gaps out there.
Fake profiles and anonymity have always been the order of the day on MySpace. As some have said before this was like Twitter in the early days, but increasingly Twitter has become more like Facebook. People have ditched their fake names and more and more only want to connect people who only have their real names.
I started out as GordonM before changing my username to my actual name. It makes sense.
The fakery and anonymity means that MySpace is taking on increasingly the properties of niche interest social networking sites. If you are a cyclist for instance you probably go to Bikeradar or a runner you go to Runner’s World. And when you do you are likely to be a member of them in addition to broader sites like LinkedIn and Facebook.
This gives us a world where we have a number of top level broad interest sites (like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn) and more special interest sites (both international and local) of which a retrenched MySpace appears to be one of.
Read more on MySpace goes into rapid retreat/embraces its future…