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A New Leadership in MySpace

Jessi Hempel’s article, Yes, MySpace can be Saved, delved on the prevailing problems that are besetting the once-most popular social networking site in the United States of America. Here, Hempel theorized on several reasons for their apparent down turn, and elaborated on factual figures that revealed their actual standing, both in their numbers of global patronage as well as with their declared revenues.

While the main focus of comparison is aimed at their closest rival, Facebook, the article nevertheless exhibits a positive outlook in to the future of MySpace, as evidenced by other companies that had also experienced financially-challenging times and had recovered since then. Firstly, the main reason for MySpace’s concern stems from their slipping to the second spot, in terms of numbers of visitors per month. In the United States alone for the month of May in 2009, MySpace had 70. 24 million to Facebook’s 70. 28 million (Hempel, 2009, p. 1). This was the first time that Facebook was able to surpass MySpace in this aspect.

Likewise, as of June 16 of the said year, MySpace necessitated laying off “420 employees, roughly 30%” (Hempel, 2009, p. 1) of their entire work force. However, all may not be totally lost

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for MySpace, as Hempel himself has given Apple and Amazon as prime examples of companies that found themselves in dire situations and had survived. The most apparent advantage of MySpace over other competitors is that despite of Facebook’s having more visitors in their website, MySpace’s patrons still logged in more minutes, wherein their members spent an average of 218 minutes, compared to Facebook’s 149 minutes (Hempel, 2009, p. 1).

Another advantage is Rupert Murdoch himself. As the company’s CEO, he refused to simply admit defeat and pack up. He took to hiring new recruits who have already proven their dynamism and excellence in the digital business. In April of 2009, he hired former AOL chief Jon Miller, and by the end of the said month Miller “replaced co-founder Chris DeWolfe with a talented triumvirate” (Hempel, 2009, p. 1): namely Owen Van Natta, who was the former COO of Facebook, and who later was to be made CEO by Miller; Mike Jones, AOL’s former executive, as the COO; and Jason Hirschhorn, an ex-chief digital office of MTV, as Chief Product Officer.

Under this new leadership, the company’s attempts to minimize their expenses were put into action. First were the abovementioned employment terminations of roughly 30% of their staff, then the shelving of the plan to move the company address to a highly-posh neighborhood in Playa Vista, Los Angeles.

Perhaps Miller’s new vision for the company can be evidenced in the speech that he delivered in May of 2009, at the D: All Things Digital, where he stated, “The tendency when you fall behind in product areas is to think that you have to catch up by checking boxes. I think that’s wrong. You should leapfrog and focus on emerging behaviors, and go for the big moves” (Hempel, 2009, p. 1). This heightened measure of risk-taking is totally contradictory to the past techniques established by MySpace.

After all, they have always designed their innovations based on costumer feedbacks, “by responding to what its members requested” (Hempel, 2009, p. 1). Unquestionably, this resulted in a positive outcome, wherein the majority of the “most intriguing new elements…migrated to MySpace after bubbling up on competing sites” (Hempel, 2009, p. 1). Lastly, a need arises for MySpace to apply this dynamism to their advertising strategy, especially since their contract with a disappointed Google is set to expire, and that roughly half of their revenues come from this deal.

While MySpace’s 2008 advertising revenue of $600 million is still topped in the social network industry, Miller and his team needs to make innovative changes in order to win the allegiance of their 130 million members worldwide. Wirth the brilliance of this team and with an almost endless capital at hand, it certainly seems that MySpace is due to regain lost grounds. Reference Hempel, J. (2009, June 18). Yes, MySpace can be Saved. CNNMoney. com. Retrieved July 9, 2010, from <http://money. cnn. com/2009/06/18/technology/myspace_can_be_saved. fortune/index. htm>

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