Back in 2005, News Corporation paid $580 million to acquire MySpace. At the time, the pioneering social media site received, in the United States alone, 20 million unique visitors monthly. Today, what’s left of the network was just sold for a not-so-cool $35 million. Specific Media, an online advertising company from Irvine, CA, is the buyer.
Another harsh figure, inspiring more than a few sly smiles (here’s looking at you, Tom Freston) is the difference from a peak revenue of $605 million to a modest $183 million. It’s been reported that since the 2005 purchase, the News Corporation division that was home to MySpace only managed to make a profit once. Massive layoffs were carried out yesterday inside the company — about 200 people lost their jobs.
But the deal has a Hollywood twist. Justin Timberlake, who played Facebook’s Sean Parker in David Fincher’s film “The Social Network,” has taken a real-life 5-percent stake in Specific Media, along with an office at MySpace and a six-count staff. He’ll be working as a kind of creative director focused on “reinvigorating” the site.
For now, other MySpace workers are staying busy by attempting to “quickly publish a crowdsourced book” about themselves. It’s being written on Google Docs while, along the once-higher rungs, MySpace ex-vice presidents are using Twitter give others tidings of their last days at the company. Yes, the medium is a message unto itself.