Myspace preparing comeback: The once dominant social network is shifting its focus to get you back

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By Joshua Ostrer

Remember the days before Facebook? Before news feeds, likes and Farmville invites?

It has been awhile since the social networking giant, Facebook, launched in February 2004. Before the rise of Facebook, Myspace dominated the social media scene.

From 2005 until 2008, MySpace was not only the world’s most visited social networking site, but also the most visited website in the United States, beating out both Google Search and Yahoo Mail.

In June 2006, MySpace held 80% of all social networking traffic; Facebook was second with 7.6%.

Fast-forward to 2012 and Facebook’s 750 million estimated unique users outnumber MySpace users by approximately 680 million.

Facebook is the #1 most visited website globally as ranked by Alexa, an Amazon subsidiary web information company, while MySpace comes in at 183rd place globally.

Despite Facebook’s success over the past 4 years, MySpace is by no means giving up. MySpace is currently in the process of “rolling out” its new look. The ‘new MySpace’ is to be separated from the classic version users used to know and is currently only open to a select few.

“We are in a beta period now with artists, managers, DJs, tastemakers. Our employees, which is a little over 700, have been on the site for a few months now,” said MySpace COO Chris Vanderhook.

As time goes on and MySpace responds to input from its beta-testers, the network will open up to more users.

“The next to get the invites will [be] the MySpace loyalists, and we will continue to roll out invites for the foreseeable future” said Vanderhook.

MySpace knows where it stands. “We know we are the underdog…We want to prove everything that we want to do,” remarked Vanderhook.

MySpace’s new setup will be integrated with your Facebook and Twitter account, eliminating the need for an independent profile and login.

MySpace wants to be more of a utility for media then an independent hassle.

But what changes does the “new MySpace” actually offer?

“They’ve changed the interface dramatically. They’ve made it more friendly and taken away the clutter and they continue to focus on the fact that it is a social network for video and music for a really entertainment focused approach,” said Alan Wlasuk, managing partner of WDD Inc., a software development company.

MySpace might be on its way to a comeback, but taking back the social networking crown isn’t exactly in its sights.

“I don’t think it’s a Facebook killer. I think there will be one, but MySpace isn’t it. Google took their best shot (with Google+ which currently ranks fifth among social networks) and failed miserably. MySpace isn’t what it used to be in the past, but it’s still significant. It’s heading into the entertainment field which could be great for advertisement and revenue,” said Alan Wlasuk.

“We are looking at two separate demographics, Facebook for updating constantly and MySpace for those with a fascination either professionally or nonprofessionally, in the entertainment field,” added Wlasuk.

With Facebook stock struggling due to the uncertainty surrounding how Facebook will secure new revenue streams, especially on its massive mobile consumer base, MySpace offers a potential solution.

“Advertisement is difficult on smartphones because there’s so little real estate. With entertainment, they [MySpace] have options to offer downloads that they could monetize in the mobile field,” said Wlasuk.

A crucial element to MySpace’s resurgence will be its investment backing, which has potential.

Justin Timberlake remains a co-owner of MySpace, providing a popularity boost for the social network.

MySpace also hopes to gain backing from their new media-oriented approach.

“It’s easier to get investors behind MySpace because everyone is interested in the next big media network,” noted Wlasuk.

MySpace is definitely back in the news, a step forward for a social network that had faded into obscurity in the eyes of many.

For a video preview of the new MySpace, go to www.myspace.com.

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