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Inside MySpace.com 250

Posted by kdawson
from the like-Topsy dept.
lizzyben writes "Baseline is running a long piece about the inner workings of MySpace.com. The story chronicles how the social networking site has continuously upgraded its technology infrastructure — not entirely systematically — to accommodate more than 26 million accounts. It was a rocky road and there are still hiccups, several of which writer David F. Carr details here." From the story: "MySpace.com's continued growth flies in the face of much of what Web experts have told us for years about how to succeed on the Internet. It's buggy, often responding to basic user requests with the dreaded 'Unexpected Error' screen, and stocked with thousands of pages that violate all sorts of conventional Web design standards with their wild colors and confusing background images. And yet, it succeeds anyway."
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Inside MySpace.com

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  • by Wandering Wombat (531833) <mightyjalapenoNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @05:43PM (#17636166) Homepage Journal
    ... but apparently Tom has enough friends.


    Seriously, I had a look at a few pages, and when I eventually managed to CTRL-ALT-DELETE my browser into submission, I made damn well sure never to go back there. Are there people that actually have enough computing power to handle some of those profiles?

    • by forkazoo (138186)

      ... but apparently Tom has enough friends.

      Seriously, I had a look at a few pages, and when I eventually managed to CTRL-ALT-DELETE my browser into submission, I made damn well sure never to go back there. Are there people that actually have enough computing power to handle some of those profiles?

      Yes - there are tons of people who have plenty of power for browsing myspace. Tops on the list would be those with noscript installed and not set to trust myspace.com. Next would be people who browse using lynx or

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by onefourfive (950209)
      a lot of these comments sound like a variation on, "When I was a kid, we didn't need any MySpace!"

      im out of the age range everyone is throwing around here and yet, i both depend on MySpace for a lot AND enjoy its nuances. i am an independent bass player with good credentials and i like freelancing my musical skills. i have had a HUGE number of contacts come through with higher paying gigs. i have met interesting women on MySpace, too. one of which i am now seeing.

      MySpace is all about looking around. it

  • by ack154 (591432)
    I think the milestones are a little behind... the last they mention is 26 million. Last I noticed they're nearly 150 million. Maybe that was the last significant upgrade worth mentioning? TFA didn't seem to mention... or I skipped over it. Very possible.
  • Everyone uses it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by burbankmarc (838977) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @05:43PM (#17636182)
    It's not the stability or the design,it's just that people now adays say "what's your myspace" rather than "what's your phone number" There's tons of other sites out there with more functionality and more stable servers, but...no one uses those, do they?
    • by garcia (6573) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @05:48PM (#17636276) Homepage
      It's not the stability or the design,it's just that people now adays say "what's your myspace" rather than "what's your phone number" There's tons of other sites out there with more functionality and more stable servers, but...no one uses those, do they?

      Who are you talking about? Teenagers and college students? You must be, because as an adult, I don't know anyone that says anything of the sort and if they did I would ignore them from that point on. Please note, I'm only slightly outside of the age range where that site is most popular.
      • Re:Everyone uses it (Score:4, Informative)

        by abigor (540274) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @05:53PM (#17636396)
        Tons of bands use it, small independent movie studios and film productions, etc. etc. Basically, anyone with anything to promote.

        As far as personal profiles go, I'd suspect most people are pretty young, like 20s. But I know of many people in their 30s with MySpace sites also.
        • As far as personal profiles go, I'd suspect most people are pretty young, like 20s. But I know of many people in their 30s with MySpace sites also.

          So, in other words, MySpace's chief demographics are "20-somethings" and "people trying to sleep with 20-somethings."

          • by poptones (653660)
            So, in other words, MySpace's chief demographics are "20-somethings" and "people trying to sleep with 20-somethings."

            And thus you have stumbled upon their secret for keeping it "safe from pedophiles."

            Oh, wait...
          • People who can't stand MySpace's (or for that matter Orkut's) errors and general suck, and thus scout around to find the social-networking/media sharing site that sucks least [multiply.com], but leave a little something behind on MySpace as a "pointer" for their herd-behaving acquaintances. (I'm in this category [myspace.com])
          • Parent shouldn't be modded funny, but rather insightful. As they say, it's funny 'cause it's true.
        • Re:Everyone uses it (Score:4, Interesting)

          by kevinbr (689680) on Wednesday January 17, 2007 @05:25AM (#17643490)
          The demographic is now over Thirty in age I read somewhere. People perhaps do not realize that MySpace band space is killing the recording studios.

          I am launching a tiny record label because my A and R man is MySpace. I can find all the talent I need and I can see who might be a success by seeing do they post their gigs ( i.e. they actual play gigs ) and how many people they have as fans and how often people listen to the posted tracks.

          The reality is that bands might not actual need a label - they can self publish but that takes energy which a lot only put into music.

          The other reality is lots of little band makeing 100K smooths out the business away from the 100 bands pulling 99% of the income to a more equitaable world where more musicians can actually make a living.

          My theory is that recorded music is going to be more a teaser for live acts than a main source of income.

          I am working with 4 unknowns to try and get something out this year. Thanks to MySpace.
      • Re:Everyone uses it (Score:4, Interesting)

        by StarvingSE (875139) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @06:09PM (#17636660)
        It's called a generation gap. I am in my 20's and admittedly use myspace. I think its a good tool for keeping in touch with old friends or getting back in touch with people you went to high school with. It is buggy, but it does a fairly decent job of sorting out those accounts so that you can find people in your school, company, or whatever. There are a lot of communication tools, like pagers in high school, cell phones in college, and even internet forums (like slashdot) that the younger crowd use and consider essential, but the older crowd takes a while to understand.

        Yes, some of the sites on myspace are crap, but thats totally up to the user. The default white myspace page loads pretty quickly. Myspace hosts the content, they can't control what the pages look like. I have friends who have horrible pages, and I tell them that. But its up to them to host whatever content they want, and up to me to decide to view it.

        I don't want to sound like a myspace fanboy, but I think it gets a lot of unneeded bad press because of things like child stalkers and bad page design. While these things suck, they happen because people exploit and abuse the system. Let's face it, myspace is still new and immature, but will probably get better and more polished given time and money.

        • Re:Everyone uses it (Score:5, Informative)

          by HAKdragon (193605) <hakdragon@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @06:28PM (#17637006)
          As an ex-myspacer, I know of the ocular and mental angish caused by some of the pages on myspace. However, greasemonkey [mozdev.org] and the myspace custome style remover [userscripts.org] script make using myspace bearable.
        • by suggsjc (726146)
          I'm in my 20's as well (early 20's at that). I do not (and have not, nor plan to) use myspace. I don't think I have EVER heard any of my friends reference their myspace (mostly because they don't have one) page. The only time I ever come across it is for some of the local small bands trying to make it (live in Nashville, so there are plenty).

          On the other hand, facebook is the social network of choice (and my friends).

          That said, I guess you will tend to use what your friends are using. So that leads
      • by asliarun (636603)
        "Please note, I'm only slightly outside of the age range where that site is most popular."

        and you have a 4-digit slashdot ID??

        Jokes apart, you ARE right. While MySpace might be some kind of a phenomenon among teens, tweens, weens and insert-your-demographic-here, I don't know of ANYONE in my group of friends (late 20s-early 30s) who has a MySpace account (unless they don't want to admit it!). Ryze, yes. On a side note, Orkut is way more popular in India... and one disgusting snot of jargon that it has spawn
        • by Brummund (447393)
          I got one friend who's 40 and got a myspace account. He claims to be 34 on his myspace page, though. ;-)
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Alex (342)
          and you have a 4-digit slashdot ID??

          Johnny come lately.

          Alex
    • Re:Everyone uses it (Score:4, Informative)

      by nunojsilva (1019800) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @06:19PM (#17636798) Homepage Journal

      It's the same that's happening with MSN Instant Messaging: It's broken, the official client is the worst IM client I've ever seen, and it does not support important features as formatted text (multiple formatting in a single message), but people use it.

      Also, when somebody wants to discuss something, or just talk, over the Internet, he/she asks "What's your MSN?".

      Talking about MySpace, I've only visited it a couple of times (to see a football (soccer) player's myspace (which, probably, was just built by some fans), and Nick Sagan's one), and I told myself "I've never seen a site like this one - how can they call this a web page?".

      But I know this sort of sites. At school my colleagues don't use myspace, they use hi5. And I've used it some times when I was still accessing it from public computers, with Portable Firefox. But when I accessed it with my laptop (i686 300Mhz 64Mb), it was *very* slow to load.

      Solution? A member of the INDUCKS project invited me to their forum at orkut, so I started exploring that social network. It had the same sort of silly server errors (sometimes you see a "Bad, bad server, no donut for you!"), but they didn't occur as frequently as in hi5, and the site design is clearer than the one used at Orkut.

      Fortunately GMAIL and Orkut have Gtalk integration, which means that everyone with an account in one of these services will be able to login at gtalk. This is good for me because some of my colleagues had to change to GMAIL accounts because a (very good!) teacher told us he wanted to send important documents via e-mail and that Hotmail was not the ideal tool, and the consequency is that now I'm able to talk to them using gtalk instead of MSN.

      The big problem here is "eye candy". People like myspace because it's eye candy. People like the MSN client because it's eye candy. And the same happens with hi5 and other equally bad sites.

      There's tons of other sites out there with more functionality and more stable servers, but...no one uses those, do they?

      May you tell us which better sites do you know? I'd like to know :-)

  • Scalability (Score:4, Funny)

    by eviloverlordx (99809) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @05:44PM (#17636186)
    In November, MySpace, for the first time, surpassed even Yahoo in the number of Web pages visited by U.S. Internet users, according to comScore Media Metrix, which recorded 38.7 billion page views for MySpace as opposed to 38.05 billion for Yahoo.

    The bad news is that MySpace reached this point so fast, just three years after its official launch in November 2003, that it has been forced to address problems of extreme scalability that only a few other organizations have had to tackle.


    I agree. Keeping up with all of the pedophiles is something that most businesses rarely have to deal with.
  • printer friendly (Score:4, Informative)

    by pezzonovante1 (788328) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @05:44PM (#17636208)
    article here with no ads [baselinemag.com]
  • For now. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by onion2k (203094) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @05:47PM (#17636250) Homepage
    And yet, it succeeds anyway.

    All that "power" that they've given to the users, coupled with the nasty CSS it takes to use it, will be their undoing. There's no way that they can change now without breaking millions of profiles and really annoying a huge number of their users. It's a textbook example of poor long term vision. MySpace is a huge success now, and it will continue to be for a while. One day though someone will make a social network that is quick, easy, and customisable in a well-thought out way. Then MySpace will empty very, very quickly.

    Mind you, there's no reason why that site wouldn't be MySpace2 or something. I'm only refering to the network, not the company.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by toadlife (301863)

      There's no way that they can change now without breaking millions of profiles and really annoying a huge number of their users.

      They most certainly can change it, and it wouldn't be as impossible as you think. What they would do is create a new page layout schema but support old one at the same time. When the new schema goes live, all new users would automatically be assigned the new schema while existing users would stay on the old one. Existing users would then be coaxed into adopting the new layout via banner advertisements, or in-house "spam". It would take awhile to do the migration, and a cutoff might need to be implemented a

    • by vitaflo (20507)
      All that "power" that they've given to the users, coupled with the nasty CSS it takes to use it, will be their undoing.

      Hate to break it to ya, but that's exactly the reason it's so popular.
    • I personally use Facebook (because I'm at a British university, and nearly every uni I know uses it) and that doesn't have any of the layout hells of MySpace. It's actually just... convenient.
      I wonder if it'll eventually outdo MySpace.
    • And yet, it succeeds anyway.
      Apparently, the submitter and I have very different definitions of "succeeds".
  • Niche market... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by djones101 (1021277) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @05:47PM (#17636264)
    MySpace has the stranglehold on the niche market. Any and every person who just wants their own pegboard, office cubicle side, or office wall to decorate can do so in cyberspace, especially students who otherwise have no way to really express themselves (at least in their own opinion). It takes very little experience to develop your own page that does exactly what you want. It's the Google Gadget system for the common user, or Geektools for High Schoolers, if you want to call it that. Unless someone can find a good way to draw a significant userbase away from MySpace (and I haven't seen anything that will come close), they will continue to succeed.
    • by dslauson (914147)

      "It takes very little experience to develop your own page that does exactly what you want. It's the Google Gadget system for the common user...

      It's interesting to hear people pointing out how easy it is to customize MySpace. You make it sound like it's all point and click through some kind of web interface. The reality, though, is that changing your info is easy, but actually personalizing the appearance of your site requires CSS and HTML, which is certainly beyond the skillset of your average high-scho

  • by necro2607 (771790) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @05:49PM (#17636294)
    ... they click on the pictures of the hot girls, only to get a "You must be logged in to do that!" message.
  • Why is it so hard? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dedazo (737510) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @05:50PM (#17636332) Journal
    Every single time I see a MySpace "analysis" there's that snide, bloghorati uber-alles comment about "web standards" and "lack of design". Holy crap. I am no fan of MySpace, but at least I'm mature enough to realize that people (normal people) don't give a dead rat's ass about CSS, DOM, XHTML, microformats, "mashups" or any of that other stuff that the self-appointed standards nannies of teh interwebs have decided everyone should observe closely or face death. A standardized and structured semantic web space is important, but please rent a fucking clue. They don't care. MySpace is never going to fix something that in their opinion is quite certainly not broken, because their users love it, and they get to dance with it all the way to the bank.

    Just fucking deal with it and stop pointing out that ==--~~L0N3rz1124~~--=='s blog does not validate. We know, and they don't give a shit.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Maybe if people were given a way to make an attractive and functional MySpace page without resorting to pink twinkly "This Space Pimped With Rogers SpacePimper" graphics and thirty megs of site garbage, they'd stop pimping and start primping.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dedazo (737510)
        But that's the problem - pink twinkly pimped pages is what MySpace's user demographics enjoy. That's my point.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jett (135113)
      Where is the line then? The few times I've tried to figure out what the hell is up with myspace my browser gets beaten to death by the horrific web design. I saw one page where multiple flash players loaded several video and audio files AT THE SAME TIME. The inmates can only run the asylum for so long. It's great they've managed to build a "web 2.0" version of Geocities, but when half the pages they host required a multi-ghz beast of a machine to even load I don't see how their model can really be sustainab
    • by Guy Harris (3803)

      (normal people) don't give a dead rat's ass about CSS, DOM, XHTML, microformats, "mashups" or any of that other stuff that the self-appointed standards nannies of teh interwebs have decided everyone should observe closely or face death

      Normal people shouldn't have to care about them; normal people setting up Web pages should have software (whether it's on their machine or on their server) that lets them use something simpler than Full Frontal HTML to set up the page.

      But that's not what the article was comp

    • Surely it'd be better to start with information which is understandable by humans before we put energies into making the nonesense machine readable? ;-)
    • (normal people) don't give a dead rat's ass about CSS, DOM, XHTML, microformats, "mashups" or any of that other stuff

      You must be pretty clueless, this is slashdot. Where 'normal people' are in short supply.

      Hmmm... there ought to be a t-shirt "/. where normal people are in short supply", sell it on 'ThinkGeek'. Size XXL and XXXL only....
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by LordLucless (582312)
      Most people's beef with myspace isn't that it's pages defy standards; it's that they look like crap.
  • Blah... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by creimer (824291)
    Informative article but no pretty pictures. I want to see if they got their shtick together in the server room. Is it nice and orderly like a sterile hospital ward, or haphazard with wires strung all over the place like a college dorm room? Inquiring minds want to know...
  • Google. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @05:55PM (#17636408) Journal
    I want everyone to remember that when Google came out, there were quite a few well-known search engines out already. Google was simply better enough than the others that it took over.

    If anyone is reading this, and has the resources to do it -- or maybe has some 20% time at Google -- the only real solution to MySpace (other than praying that they fix it themselves) is to offer a competing service that is so ridiculously much better than MySpace that it will do what Google did. Anyone remember Facebook? In college, not a single person used MySpace, yet everyone was in Facebook -- if Facebook was open to the public (not just people in school), it would likely kick MySpace's ass around the block.
    • Re:Google. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by vasqzr (619165) <vasqzr@nets c a p e .net> on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @05:58PM (#17636454)
      In college, not a single person used MySpace, yet everyone was in Facebook -- if Facebook was open to the public (not just people in school), it would likely kick MySpace's ass around the block.

      I believe it is open now.

      Do you really want the people on MySpace taking over Facebook?
      • Seems to be, 'though as a graduated UK resident, I can't join my uni class year as my email addy's inactive now.

        At least the myspace lot can't ruin the neat layout of FaceBook.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Cairnarvon (901868)
      Facebook has been open to the general public for months, much to its old userbase's dismay. They introduced the no-network and the regional accounts last September somewhere, IIRC.
    • by dominion (3153)

      Ultimately a system which is based uses open standards for interoperability, while balancing ease of use for the user, will win out over all of them.

      With social networking, we're in the early days, much like when Prodigy, AOL, and Compuserve all had competing services which refused to cooperate. And in the end, Email won out over all of them.
    • Google & 20% time (Score:3, Insightful)

      by remmelt (837671)
      You mean like Orkut?
    • Google isn't relevant. If a new search engine comes out and it works better than the rest, there is no friction holding you back from using it, you can just start using it right away. A comparison to operating systems is more relevant than one to search engines because there is a huge network effect there because of all the linking and subcommunities. The more people use Myspace, the more other people are more likely to use it as well, so there is this huge friction in any other site getting the users be
  • by awing0 (545366) <adam@ba d t e c h .org> on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @06:15PM (#17636728) Homepage Journal
    Sorry! an unexpected error has occurred.

    This error has been forwarded to Slashdot's technical group.
  • by TerranFury (726743) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @06:21PM (#17636842)

    I keep hearing references to horribly designed myspace profiles. For the benefit of those Slashdotters who haven't see this dreck, please post your most egregious examples in reply.

    • Choose randomly.

      I do remember posts in the past exposing particular anti-exemplar examples -- I would direct you to your favorite search engine to find similar such links.
      • by adamofgreyskull (640712) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @07:37PM (#17638202)
        For the love of god! MOD PARENT DOWN!
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by anagama (611277)
        Wow -- 30 seconds into the page and the fan on my macbook cranked up to maximum and the only thing I had running was Firefox for mac when I went there. In contrast, even when I'm running ubuntu in parallels, with quanta, gimp, firefox, wine/ie, and termial open on the linux side, plus some random things on the mac side, the fan doesn't spin up. Aside from burning the eyes, that page will burn up your hardware.
    • I don't know any offhand, but I always loved the Annual MySpace Stupid Haircut Awards: First [demonbaby.com], and Second [demonbaby.com] editions.
    • . For the benefit of those Slashdotters who haven't see this dreck, please post your most egregious examples in reply.

      danger, will robinson - the goatse.cx guy surely has a myspace page!
    • by Sloppy (14984) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @10:06PM (#17640162) Homepage Journal

      Horrible profiles are (almost *) totally irrelevant. In Firefox, just go to View/PageStyle/NoStyle, or use the "Toolbar MS" extension and dig the "de uglify" button. Instantly, the user added bullshit goes away.

      MySpace's real problem is that the website just plain sucks, regardless of cosmetic issues and user-modified stylesheets. Some examples...

      • Javascript!!!! They use Javascript for lots of things instead of links. Go to "view all my friends" and try to right-click the next and previous links so that you can open them in new tabs without losing the current page. Oops. Can't. They're not really hyperlinks. They methods. This error is pervasive through many many parts of MySpace. There are tons of places, tons of lists, that can't be navigated like "normal" websites, because they use javascript as alternatives to hyperlinks. There is no excuse for this. They went to extra trouble to make the website harder to use.
      • Book III: Sorting and Searching
        • This amazes me: MySpace can't sort. If you have a couple hundred friends, go ahead and try to find a specific one. I pity the people with thousands. Sorting a list is one of the most basic fundamental things that programmers learn to do, in order to make it easier for a user to find something in a long list. MySpace still doesn't have it, after 3 years. Sorting! How old were you when you learned to sort?
        • Likewise, you can't search your friends list. Know someone's name on your list? Then page through your list sequentially, until you find them. And hope your eyes don't miss. This blows my mind, it's such a basic fuckup that should be so trivial to fix. It's staggering. Maybe I'm paranoid, but I just can't imagine how this isn't intentional. Nobody fucks up this bad. Like the sorting problem, this is also pervasive. Post something in an active forum or group, and try to find your post later so that you can read replies. Good luck, you're going to need it!
      • Complaint du jour... Calendars have been semi-broken for the last couple of weeks. I click on "manage calender," it defaults to bringing up a totally random date in 1935 or 1998, and well, well over half the time I try to enter something and save it, I get the "unexpected error" page (like it's really unexpected by now!). How hard is it for a machine to know the current date? How hard is it to save a calendar entry? (Ok, the article is sort of actually about this.. MySpace has serious database problems. I finally realized, when they say "SQL Server" they're not so much describing a piece of software, as they are naming it: they're using Microsoft products! Holy shit! Microsoft products on busy servers!)

      * That said, there is one semi-serious cosmetic problem with MySpace. Apparently users can customize their profiles to such an extreme degree, that their profile looks like a MySpace login page, submitting the form to a different server. In other words, you can connect to MySpace, thinking you're on a login page, but send your authentication credentials somewhere else. So that's why so many people post bulletins about Free Ringtones and Anime porn! ;-)

      This post brought to you by the punctuation character "!"

  • amazed. (Score:2, Funny)

    by mulcher (241014)
    I am amazed it runs on Windows and does as well as it does.
  • Runs Pretty Bad (Score:2, Informative)

    by madsheep (984404)
    Now I do not run a website that gets millions of hits a day, so maybe I am not one to speak -- but MySpace IMO is pretty poor. If you have ever used it, you must be familiar with its inability to accurately track sessions and frequently mistakenly log you out. Not to mention if you use it for an period of time you will generally fail to reach your intended page multiple times with a plethora of possible errors or blank screens. If this was a service people paid for, it would have no users. However, sinc
  • ...but that doesn't mean I feel the need to attend a WWE event.
  • Well, (Score:3, Insightful)

    by somethinghollow (530478) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @07:04PM (#17637668) Homepage Journal
    It certainly wouldn't be any less popular if it wasn't buggy. What's happened is that MySpace somehow managed to carve a space in the collective conscious. So, it's the place people go in the US to do social networking. People just deal with the fact that it's buggy because that is the place where you go. It's kind of like people use Windows because that is the only OS they know (or like AIM, etc.). They don't know of anything better, and even if they did, their friends probably wouldn't know of it / use it. MySpace could improve the user experience, but they likely won't until someone starts sucking people out of MySpace and into something better.
  • by vindimy (941049) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @07:36PM (#17638172) Homepage
    1) Use Firefox (more secure) with pop-up blocker
    2) Use Adblock plugin for Firefox (blocks most ads) with auto filter updating
    3) Use Flashblock for Firefox (blocks most movies and survivor ads)
    4) Block CSS/JavaScript if your eyes hurt or you're getting dizzy
    5) Use Web Developer toolbar for Firefox if you need more control
    6) Get a 13-year-old to translate the pages for you (old people hack)

    Enjoy
  • by Paulrothrock (685079) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @09:04PM (#17639380) Homepage Journal
    Look at it this way: The more people use MySpace, the fewer "OMG FWD THIS TO EVERY 1 U NO!!!" emails you'll get. It's like a ghetto for annoying people on the Internet.
  • I've seen a lot of community sites come and go. MySpace is a pig. But the very thing that makes it so awful gives its users flexibility and freedom that far exceeds anything that would typically be considered responsible (fishing scandals/css hacks/etc).

    Basically its like a slightly structured Geocities only without mommy or daddy for the most part. You get a template, you get a dating service, you get a highschool popularity contest, and you can even plug in music that doesn't belong to you. All that and
  • by sych (526355) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @10:31PM (#17640450)
    From TFA:
    Last summer, MySpace's Windows 2003 servers shut down unexpectedly on multiple occasions. The culprit turned out to be a built-in feature of the operating system designed to prevent distributed denial of service attacks--a hacker tactic in which a Web site is subjected to so many connection requests from so many client computers that it crashes. MySpace is subject to those attacks just like many other top Web sites, but it defends against them at the network level rather than relying on this feature of Windows--which in this case was being triggered by hordes of legitimate connections from MySpace users.

    "We were scratching our heads for about a month trying to figure out why our Windows 2003 servers kept shutting themselves off," Benedetto says. Finally, with help from Microsoft, his team figured out how to tell the server to "ignore distributed denial of service; this is friendly fire."

    WHAT?!

    So, Windows 2003 has a "feature" that deals with denial-of-service attacks - it shuts down! Brilliant!
  • by Percy_Blakeney (542178) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @11:30PM (#17641108) Homepage

    I'm a bit surprised that at the sequence of stages that their architecture went through. They bought expensive servers, mega-expensive SAN's, completely changed their platform from ColdFusion to ASP.NET, tried data segmentation...

    And then finally implemented a caching layer in front of the databases!

    That should have been the very first thing that they tried, as any experienced developer would have known. Instead of buying that SAN for a billion dollars, maybe they should have just invested in some competent employees.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kiran_n (228321) *

      Finally a comment on the architecture of the whole thing (which, if anyone would have bothered to RTFA - wait am on Slashdot...). What is conspicuous by its absence is the lack of consideration of other Web Server technologies. I'm sure other technologies would have been considered - any Web Server architect worth his/her salt would surely have looked at alternate Apache/Linux or Apache/FreeBSD and other database technologies.

      The comments on Slashdot definitely are going downhill.... Would have expected to
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by davros-too (987732)

      That should have been the very first thing that they tried, as any experienced developer would have known.

      I guess the problem is not much overlap between the 'internet startups' developers and the 'corporate megasite' developers. If the developer's whole career has been building and supporting sites where they think a few million page views a month is big, they are going to really struggle when that turns into millions per day or per hour.

      Would a caching layer have solved myspace server problems witho

  • by qzulla (600807) <qzilla@hotmail.com> on Wednesday January 17, 2007 @12:25AM (#17641582)
    MySpace founders Chris DeWolfe and Tom Anderson had previously founded an e-mail marketing company called ResponseBase that they sold to Intermix in 2002. The ResponseBase team received $2 million plus a profit-sharing deal, according to a Web site operated by former Intermix CEO Brad Greenspan. (Intermix was an aggressive Internet marketer--maybe too aggressive. In 2005, then New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer--now the state's governor--won a $7.9 million settlement in a lawsuit charging Intermix with using adware. The company admitted no wrongdoing.)

    In 2003, Congress passed the CAN-SPAM Act to control the use of unsolicited e-mail marketing. Intermix's leaders, including DeWolfe and Anderson, saw that the new laws would make the e-mail marketing business more difficult and "were looking to get into a new line of business," says Duc Chau, a software developer who was hired by Intermix to rewrite the firm's e-mail marketing software.

    Fancy that.

    qz

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