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News Corp. Looking To Sell MySpace 146

Posted by Soulskill
from the betting-wrong dept.
rudy_wayne writes "News Corp. is reportedly trying to sell MySpace for $100 million, a fraction of the $580 million it originally paid for the social network in 2005. Parties interested in acquiring MySpace include private equity firm THL Partners, Redscout Ventures and Criterion Capital, owner of social network Bebo (the company AOL bought for $850 million and then sold for $10 million). Chinese Internet holding company Tencent is also reportedly interested, and so is MySpace co-founder Chris De Wolfe. What's not yet clear is what any of these companies plan to do with MySpace if a sale goes through." This follows news of massive layoffs and a rapidly shrinking userbase in recent months.
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News Corp. Looking To Sell MySpace

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  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Friday April 29, 2011 @09:33AM (#35973898)

    Or, here's an idea, how about you remove those annoying sparkly custom backgrounds, autoplaying songs, pages that look like a 13-year-old girl threw up all over them, incredibly intrusive advertising, the overlapping spaghetti code of multiple scripts, and ridiculous clutter? You know...become Facebook.

    • by tripleevenfall (1990004) on Friday April 29, 2011 @09:38AM (#35973942)

      Hopefully without the impossible to decipher maze of privacy settings, security issues, harvesting user data for advertisers, etc?

      • by x*yy*x (2058140)
        What's so hard about Facebook privacy settings? I find them really easy and understandable. Preview your profile as specific person makes it even easier to change it exactly how you want it.
        • I find it even easier to just not log onto Facebook. And if you close your account, make sure to delete all Facebook cookies and password saves, as any inadvertent blundering into Facebook.com name-space will likely automatically 'reactivate' your account.

      • So, like Facebook without the ability to properly monetize it. I'm sure that would work out swimmingly.
    • by Kjella (173770)

      At this point that's like trying to become a better WoW than WoW, good luck. I definitively think they need to try being something very different from Facebook - in a good way - if they are to survive.

      • At this point that's like trying to become a better WoW than WoW,

        I hate MMORPGs but I hear FF11 is far better designed than WoW. I'll stick to things I can buy, own, and casual play when I'm alone, rather than soul-sucking life sinks that purport to "let you socialize instead of isolate yourself" while you talk to people you never meet over a computer for 8 hours a day.

        • I hate MMORPGs but I hear FF11 is far better designed than WoW.

          Having played both, I can safely say you heard wrong... and there are a few million other people that are likely to agree,

          • What I heard about FF11 was it's far more consistent and sensible, the simplest example being that monsters drop things like skin and tails and feathers rather than finished potions and completely constructed pieces of armor or boots or whatnot--why does a bird have boots? Players who move from one to the other tend to comment that WoW seems to be a hackery of rewards systems and diversions (i.e. side quests), while FF11 tends to be the exact same thing, but made with the forethought of "okay does this mak

    • by Xacid (560407)

      Pretty much nailed it.

      Ish.

      Take it back to before facebook discovered apps and changed the layout twice a year. You know, when it was simple and did what it was supposed to do.

      And yes, didn't look like my little pony and bratz got shoved into a blender.

      • by elrous0 (869638) * on Friday April 29, 2011 @10:02AM (#35974206)

        my little pony and bratz got shoved into a blender.

        That's a pretty good way of putting it. I still get headaches even thinking about some of the pages on MySpace. I had one particularly tasteless friend whose page would have given a Japanese kid seizures.

        • Register..... Login..... Picture of Matthew McConaughey with his shirt off... never went back
        • That wasn't what killed it. People liked being able to customize your own page. That's all some people talked about for a while.

          But that wasn't what killed it. You couldn't truly customize it: it was covered with the ugliest ads known to man. Even if you had amazingly good designer sense, it was still an ugly page. Who really wants ads for adult friendfinder on their home page? No one, especially in their primary demographic.
          • by Xacid (560407)

            Personally it's what killed it for me. Why? I thrive on that consistency in order to navigate through a familiar site efficiently. The fact that so much was able to be moved and hidden made it a total pain in the ass for me and ruined the experience.

    • Isn't that basically what Friendster was? People seem to forget them when talking about how Facebook beat MySpace. They always chalk it up to the clean design, but forget the faux exclusivity that Facebook used as marketing originally (limiting membership to .edu email addresses).
    • by shish (588640)

      remove those [...] pages that look like a 13-year-old girl threw up all over them

      Alienate their core (only) audience, in order to become a second-rate competitor to facebook, in a market where second place is nothing? I'm not sure I see the benefit of this over your "$50 to kill it" suggestion...

    • by jo42 (227475)

      Just "Make it dead, Jim".

    • by Phoghat (1288088)

      here's an idea, how about you remove those annoying sparkly custom backgrounds, autoplaying songs, pages that look like a 13-year-old girl threw up all over them, incredibly intrusive advertising, the overlapping spaghetti code of multiple scripts, and ridiculous clutter? You know...become Facebook.

      Don't be a hater, all those pages were made by a 13 year old girl while throwing up.

  • Microsoft, here's your chance!

    • by tripleevenfall (1990004) on Friday April 29, 2011 @09:39AM (#35973948)

      Microsoft doesn't buy ruined companies, they buy decent ones and THEN ruin them.

      • by grub (11606)

        Microsoft doesn't buy ruined companies, they buy decent ones and THEN ruin them.

        Two negatives makes a positive!
      • by DesScorp (410532) <DesScorp@NOSpam.Gmail.com> on Friday April 29, 2011 @11:10AM (#35975060) Homepage Journal

        Microsoft doesn't buy ruined companies, they buy decent ones and THEN ruin them.

        Yeah, Bungie, Visio, and Hotmail sure dissapeared after Microsoft bought them. Oh wait...

        Ruin, really? Before Google came along, Hotmail WAS webmail. And it's still hugely successful. Bungie helped fuel the rise of Microsoft's XBox empire. MS's purchase of Great Plains financial software has vaulted the Dynamics line from a small offering that caters to small offices to a large ERP suite that is increasingly muscling in on Oracle's and SAP's territory.

        Looking at Microsoft's long history of acquisitions [wikipedia.org], it's hard to objectively say that most of them were busts. Most of them were purchased simply so that MS could integrate their products into existing suites. Microsoft bought Forethought.. the company that created Powerpoint.. for $14 million dollars. How much money do you think PowerPoint has made for Microsoft over the years? Me, I'd say that purchase has paid for itself many times over. And while you may hate it (and I certainly do), calling PowerPoint a a failure would be pure BS. It's The Standard in presentation software.

        There are other numerous examples of now retired software products that, at the time, made tremendous sense to buy. FoxPro, for instance, was enormously popular, and made MS a lot of money. Ditto for Frontpage. For years, if you didn't know HTML, Frontpage was pretty much the way to get a web page up. Again, and it was tremendously successful in the market.

        Here's a basic truth that we here at Slashdot are loathe to admit: Microsoft is a successful company because they've got some pretty smart people working there. All that money didn't just come from nowhere. They kinda know what they're doing over there in Redmond, you know?

        • by Jawnn (445279)

          Microsoft doesn't buy ruined companies, they buy decent ones and THEN ruin them.

          Yeah, Bungie, Visio, and Hotmail sure dissapeared after Microsoft bought them. Oh wait...

          Ruin, really?

          One word... FrontPage. There are more, of course, and we could go on trading licks all day, but in the end, the corpses of products that were killed by Microsoft would probably outnumber those still living. And yes, by the time MS got done with it, FrontPage deserved to die, but that's the whole point.

        • by AK Marc (707885)
          Ruin doesn't always mean "make disappear or fail in a business sense." Arguably, to many, Bungie is worse than before the acquisition. And they could consider that "worseness" to be ruined, if it tainted the original.
      • by fuzznutz (789413)
        I thought that was Symantec's job.
  • And nothing of value was lost.

    (although I guess shitty local bands are going to have to find some other way to annoy people)

    • by hubie (108345)
      So what is the over-under in years until we hear this kind of story about Facebook?
      • Re:Shoveling dirt (Score:4, Interesting)

        by tripleevenfall (1990004) on Friday April 29, 2011 @09:55AM (#35974142)

        Facebook has been adopted by the audience that is slow to adopt and slow to move away as well, which is older people.

        Myspace was never generally being used by people over 30 or so (maybe even 25), and it wasn't used to connect with family or long-lost friends. It was being used the way Twitter is used today.

        Facebook created a niche and I think will occupy it for the foreseeable future. Myspace's niche was gobbled up 75% by Twitter, 25% by facebook.

        • Facebook has been adopted by the audience that is slow to adopt and slow to move away as well, which is older people. ... Facebook created a niche and I think will occupy it for the foreseeable future.

          True. Really, really old people (30+) [xkcd.com] give stability to your platform.

          But it is the irresponsible and naive young that drive the ad-revenue.

          • But it is the irresponsible and naive young that drive the ad-revenue.

            It is? That's interesting. I'd think that the less tech-savvy (thus more likely to 'fall' for ads) and with more disposable income would provide more revenue.

            • by formfeed (703859)

              more disposable income

              I wonder.
              The ad-industry certainly targets younger people.

              The 30+ might have more income, but maybe not "disposable income" (mortgage, college loans, kids, ..). The 17 yo who lives at home might be the easier target.

        • by S.O.B. (136083)

          I think you're right. Although I can see three things that could make a dent in Facebook:

          1. Someone with big money that has a new take on the problem and gets it to market way ahead of Facebook. Someone like Google is big enough that they could take a run at Facebook if they wanted to.

          2. An open platform (perhaps Diaspora or something like it) where people can be assured of some control over their personal information and privacy. This would tap into a new market of those who have been wary of Facebook i

        • by hubie (108345)

          Facebook has been adopted by the audience that is slow to adopt and slow to move away as well, which is older people.

          So was AOL. People talk of Facebook, especially since it is the darling of the media at the moment, like it is the very fabric that holds civilization together. Having been around these interwebs since the 80's, I can recall many who have risen and fallen. They'll have their cycle, I'm sure.

      • MySpace has always been shit... And except for lol-privacy-panic crowd FaceBook actually has a pretty damn decent service. Ever notice how uncluttered the site is?
    • by cjb658 (1235986)

      If only it were this easy to get rid of *real* garbage.

  • by Quato (132194) on Friday April 29, 2011 @09:40AM (#35973956)
    I totally read about this on Facebook.
    • by gosand (234100)

      I can't wait to read this ABOUT Facebook. At least MySpace was short-lived and only appeared to be populated by people with the attention span of a hummingbird, and who were of the age where being annoying just came natural. Facebook has taken annoying to a whole new level, and generation. I spend maybe 5 minutes a month on there... I cannot fathom how people can spend hours on it every day.

  • Overvalued ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Friday April 29, 2011 @09:44AM (#35974008) Homepage

    What I find most interesting about this summary is just how overvalued some of these companies became, and that someone actually was willing to pay that much:

    reportedly trying to sell MySpace for $100 million, a fraction of the $580 million it originally paid for the social network in 2005. Parties interested in acquiring MySpace include private equity firm THL Partners, Redscout Ventures and Criterion Capital, owner of social network Bebo (the company AOL bought for $850 million and then sold for $10 million)

    I mean ... bought for $580M and sold for $100M ... bought for $850M and sold for $10M ... those are really big differences in the valuations of these things.

    This further reaffirms my belief that the 'market' has long ago given up on actual fundamentals of 'value', and mostly follow hype and become totally irrational. It's all funny money and speculation. I always though financial people were supposed to know better.

    I can't wait until we 'learn' that neither Facebook nor Zynga are actually worth what people say they are now.

    • by tripleevenfall (1990004) on Friday April 29, 2011 @10:01AM (#35974204)

      AOL didn't become AOL by making smart business decisions.

      They made it by doing things like thinking Bebo was a great product.

    • Re:Overvalued ... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 29, 2011 @10:09AM (#35974282)

      MySpace WAS valued at $580 million.

      It's not that the original value was incorrect. It's that MySpace LOST value over time. I can buy a $1500 computer today, and in 6 months it will be worth $1000, and in another 6 months it will be worth $700. That doesn't mean the original price I paid was incorrect. It just means that computers lose value quickly.

      Likewise, websites can gain value very quickly, and lose value very quickly. They are high-risk. It could have very well been that MySpace evolved into what Facebook is today, and valued in the billions. In which case, NewsCorp would have been praised for their smart move at buying it at $580 million.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        But why did NewsCorp think they could evaluate the risk? They have competency in news and media, not social networking. For example if I'm an art collector, I'm going to buy art because I know the trends, and not buy a copper mine which I know nothing about.

        • by El Torico (732160)

          It's called "hubris".

        • We're talking about a company owned by Rupert Murdoch here. Remember, he's the guy who claimed copyright on the word "Sky" and sued Skype over it.

          These guys aren't so bright. After putting up their paywall to protect their web content, they found that readership dropped..... One article suggests that advertisers are much less interested in News Corp because of their paywall decision - less traffic = fewer sales.

          Personally, I say more power to them. I think stupidity should be encouraged. They should de

    • by alen (225700)

      kids in a garage or harvard make a cool website that becomes popular. copycats follow. the originals get financing and don't want to sell since they are the best and can make more money.

      giant mega corps take notice of new trends and want to get in on them. of course they can't make something themselves because after the endless meetings and changes by MBA's no one will ever want to use the product. so they buy one of the copycats for a ridiculous premium.

      the current employees are afraid and don't want anyth

    • by Kjella (173770)

      The way you present it is a bit misleading, the thing is you can look like a strong competitor but then it turns out the market ran with somebody else. Take something like AltaVista, they were a huge search engine around 1998. Unless you had a very good crystal ball you could easily think they would become what Google is today. Google doesn't sound like such a bad investment, does it?

      Same with social sites, if there's anything that has network effects it's this. You* are on Facebook because everyone else is

      • by johnjaydk (584895)

        Everybody else are speculating, even if you think that "oh this company has really good products and I think they'll sell well in the future" and invest long term that's speculation.

        NO. That is called investing. Gambling on a company becoming profitable and giving a good ROI is a GOOD THING.

        Speculation is disregarding the prospect of ROI and just gambling that the stock price will go up. Just like the resent housing bobble.

    • What I find most interesting about this summary is just how overvalued some of these companies became, and that someone actually was willing to pay that much:

      reportedly trying to sell MySpace for $100 million, a fraction of the $580 million it originally paid for the social network in 2005. Parties interested in acquiring MySpace include private equity firm THL Partners, Redscout Ventures and Criterion Capital, owner of social network Bebo (the company AOL bought for $850 million and then sold for $10 million)

      I mean ... bought for $580M and sold for $100M ... bought for $850M and sold for $10M ... those are really big differences in the valuations of these things.

      This further reaffirms my belief that the 'market' has long ago given up on actual fundamentals of 'value', and mostly follow hype and become totally irrational. It's all funny money and speculation. I always though financial people were supposed to know better.

      I can't wait until we 'learn' that neither Facebook nor Zynga are actually worth what people say they are now.

      And groupon, don't forget them.

    • They're valuable as long as they remain popular and advertisers pay for access to their users. Where don't you see the value in that? It's just a very volatile and competitive market. Myspace didn't lose value because of a bubble, it lost value because it lost users. It's true that there is a lot of hype in valuing Internet companies. I don't believe Facebook is really for $50bn, but that doesn't mean it has no value. In all markets there will be people who overvalue goods.
      • by gstoddart (321705)

        They're valuable as long as they remain popular and advertisers pay for access to their users. Where don't you see the value in that? It's just a very volatile and competitive market. Myspace didn't lose value because of a bubble, it lost value because it lost users

        I'm not entirely convinced of that ... advertisers are willing to pay the money because they have also bought into the hype. They're part of the bubble. In fact, they probably make the most money except for the 3-4 guys who become overnight bil

    • by fermion (181285)
      I think this kind of bad deals are more frequent than we think. The difference is that some firms are allowed to fail, and some are not. Some of it has to do when the management is just so incompentant and criminal that nothing can be done, as in the case of Enron who paid 100 million to put their name on a baseball stadium. It is one thing for Newscorp or AOL to pay 850 million for a firm, another for $100 million billboard.

      Then there is the financial firm and car manufacturers who seem to make equal

    • by Myopic (18616)

      Just to be clear, the market has always followed irrational hype. The canonical example is tulip bulbs, but you could go way back to purple dye. It's the nature of human beings.

      • by gstoddart (321705)

        Just to be clear, the market has always followed irrational hype. The canonical example is tulip bulbs, but you could go way back to purple dye.

        OK ... I'm not suggesting what you've said is wrong, but I'd love some clarification.

        Tulip bulbs?? Really? Why? I'm stumped on both of your examples.

        I have no doubt people have always been irrational. That part is a given. :-P

        • by flosofl (626809)

          >Tulip bulbs?? Really?

          I thought everyone knew about Tulip Mania. I'm sure it's in Wikipedia, look it up. It's probably the first known "bubble" in recorded history. Tulip bulbs were being bought, sold, and speculated on at insane prices. Sometimes a bulb was worth many many times what a skilled craftsman would make in a year.

          It kicked off right after they were first introduced to the Netherlands (I think) in the 1600s.

          • by gstoddart (321705)

            I thought everyone knew about Tulip Mania. I'm sure it's in Wikipedia, look it up. It's probably the first known "bubble" in recorded history. Tulip bulbs were being bought, sold, and speculated on at insane prices. Sometimes a bulb was worth many many times what a skilled craftsman would make in a year.

            You know, somehow I missed that one. I've literally never heard of it ... thanks for the info.

            And, in case anybody thinks they're kidding, this [wikipedia.org] and this [businessweek.com] are what I tracked down.

            That's just funny.

    • by EMeta (860558)
      To be fair, MySpace (flawed as it was) had a significant chance of cleaning its ugliness up & getting into the position that Facebook is now. While FB's value is still quite arguable, from current profits alone it's certainly at least an order of magnitude above the $600M paid for MySpace. And I don't think it's unreasonable to assume that at least shortly before that purchase, MySpace still had a 10% chance of becoming that big. FB had a lot more savvy people at the helm and was far less afraid to k
    • by jschottm (317343)

      I mean ... bought for $580M and sold for $100M

      Sure, but consider that Google alone paid News Corp $900M [searchenginewatch.com] during that time, News Corp still comes out ahead. Value and worth are funny concepts. MySpace might only have been "worth" $300 million to you if you were running a theoretical competitor at the time that News Corp bought it, but they turned around and made a nice profit on it, even at the higher price. And by buying it, they denied your company the ability to make that profit.

      It's all funny money and s

  • by ackthpt (218170) on Friday April 29, 2011 @09:46AM (#35974042) Homepage Journal

    Turd Polisher

    No prior experience necessary, only 100m$

  • by lwsimon (724555) <lyndsy@lyndsysimon.com> on Friday April 29, 2011 @09:46AM (#35974044) Homepage Journal

    Seriously - a company could make a ton here.

    $100m for the "MySpace" name is what this amounts to. Take it, shut it down for a month, and relaunch the service completely re-invented. Take from Facebook what works (clean, simple, consistent layout; an accessible auth system; cater to businesses), and loudly fix some of its shortcomings (Insane privacy issues; constantly changing API and business pages; vendor lock-in). I think it would be an enormous hit.

    Hell - simply allowing users to stick with old versions of the service for a year after new changes launch would garner a lot of attention. How many silly "Bring back the old Facebook!!!" groups exist?

    • by NevarMore (248971)

      Hell - simply allowing users to stick with old versions of the service for a year after new changes launch would garner a lot of attention. How many silly "Bring back the old Facebook!!!" groups exist?

      I'm not defending Facebook here, but I'm currently working on software projects where we have to keep old crufty features around for ONE customer. Its not necessarily easy to support and manage these things. To do it right entails a detailed configuration page to set the various feature options, to half-ass it means managing some magic strings in a configuration file. Support becomes harder because you have to determine what options the customer has set before you can assist them and sort out the issue. Tes

      • by lwsimon (724555)

        Yes, that's the case. I didn't say it would be easy on the developers - I'm coming at this from a marketing perspective.

        Being able to say "We will not retire features without a year's warning, pressing security issues aside" would be a great marketing tactic to the stupid number of people who are resistant to change.

        • by NevarMore (248971)

          But even on the marketing side, isn't it still more complexity and more work? You're going from selling one product with a fixed set of features to a product with a variable set of features.

        • by Archon-X (264195)

          Honestly, the people that complain loudly about new changes in FB [etc] are more than likely the people that spend too much time on the site - and are hence never going to leave.

          For the casual user, the changes don't interrupt them seeing which friend is doing what.

          All in all - nothing of value is lost by removing older features.

      • by tooyoung (853621)

        we have to keep old crufty features around for ONE customer. Its not necessarily easy to support and manage these things. To do it right entails a detailed configuration page to set the various feature options

        So, to "do it right" you have to burden 100% of your users with a complex configuration page for features that only a single customer uses?

    • by mangu (126918)

      simply allowing users to stick with old versions of the service for a year after new changes launch would garner a lot of attention

      Only problem is it would take a year for that to gather attention. Meanwhile you don't have those $100 million that could have been used to something immediately profitable. And you can bet Facebook wouldn't stand still, as soon as you implement something good they would copy it.

    • by geniice (1336589)

      That's been tried several times with Napster and hasn't worked out. In fact I can't think of any of the web's fallen giants who've managed to make a comeback.

    • Or better yet, why doesn't Facebook buy it and keep the layout so it still retains the old customers who refuse to switch. Though I'd be curious to know how long it would take to earn a decent ROI.
    • by shoptroll (544006) *

      $100 million for 34 million users is a marketing department's wet dream. Screw relaunching the service, someone is going to snatch this up, harvest the user data and close everything down before spaming the living crap out of everyone.

  • I was worried at first. I thought it said MyOuterSpace for a minute there. [myouterspace.com]
  • and you can keep 40%

  • by Anonymous Coward

    People see the initial price tag, and then the garage sale sticker five years later, and presume that the deal was a waste.

    That's like buying a new car, selling a used car and then claiming the whole venture was worthless.

    The ultimate value of MySpace to News Corp. while it was in their possession, is really only known to News Corp.

    Remember: this is a company bent on manipulating social order, augmenting the outcome of elections, provoking and supporting wars in which (and I'm lowballing here) tens of thous

    • I'd mark this insightful if I could. Great points. Even just looking at ad revenue would likely prove out a slight profit after the sale. Add the sale of data mining activities, etc and it should be profitable on paper plus the other bonuses you mentioned.

  • Ban company pages. Ban movie pages. Ban everything except people. Make it harder to become a 'friend'.

  • They should be lucky to get anything for it. Most MySpace pages make Geocities look like art and on top of that anyone who may have cared about it ran away the second Murdoch and his evil empire touched it. Only old people like Murdoch. Everyone else would rather not support him.
  • by Alex Belits (437) *

    pwnt

  • It hasn't felt like the UI is designed for usability in a long while. Now there's restrictions on posting URLs and all kinds of other crappola.

    How about Slashdot admin's put Slashdot back to where it was 3 years ago and go make a "social networking site".

    I'd sign up.
  • Good work Mr. Murdoch.

    We'll probably see him selling the NYT next after the great paywall failure.

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      We'll probably see him selling the NYT next after the great paywall failure.

      That would be really impressive seeing as he doesn't own it. You're probably thinking of the Wall St Journal, which is a completely different publication.

  • Geez, why not make up a higher number? Considering modern economists aren't really constrained by reality when it comes to eValuations, let's just add another zero and make it a mere $1Billion.
     
      Anyone hear of the dot-com bubble? If that is too ancient to recall, perhaps I could use a real estate metaphor...

  • finally gets busted in a major way. Guess he should just stick to the tits and ass that launched his so-called career.
  • Don't laugh - I hadn't touched it in years at this point, and never "pimped" out my page to begin with...it was just an easy way to communicate with my family cross-country with pictures, etc.

    But on a whim I went to stalker paradise site mylife.com and looked my name up - lo and behold, I found a picture of myself. A pic that I had only ever uploaded to myspace. So, even though I had set my profile completely to private, myspace apparently sold my picture to mylife.com. Fuckers.

    Maybe Facebook isn't much bet

  • What a shame Rupert lost money on this sinking ship.

  • http://geeks.thedailywh.at/2011/04/26/social-network-obit-of-the-day/ [thedailywh.at]

    I am surprised this older social network is still alive!

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