The Slow Death of a Social Network

facebookrulessocialnetworks.gifA few weeks ago, when News Corp’s digital chief, Jon Miller, fired MySpace CEO Owen Van Natta and replaced him with Co-presidents Mike Jones and Jason Hirschhorn, I decided it was time to write the social networking site’s epitaph. The recent exodus of executives and technical talent has only bolstered my belief that MySpace is nothing more than a carcass of its former self. In fact, it’s been rotting away for the past few years, as these charts illustrate.

The first graphic shows the comparison between Facebook and MySpace. The Johnny–come-lately controls 74 percent of the social networking market, according to data collected by Zscalar. And the gap between Facebook and its rivals is only widening.

Data from the Nielsen Company illustrates how over the past three years, Facebook has crushed the competition. Not only are people spending more and more time on Facebook — about 6.5 hours a month, on average, as of December 2009 — its number of users now tops 400 million. And that usage is coming at the expense of its rivals. During December, 67 percent of social media users visited the site.

social-network-growth.png

The important thing to note in this graphic: the steady decline in the number of U.S. visitors to MySpace over the past three years. comScore’s data only bolsters that argument, though it shows a slight bump in December 2009 traffic. But that seems like a dead-cat bounce. myspacetanks.gif

At this point I think it’s safe to say that there is a higher chance of me winning an Academy Award than the MySpace co-presidents (and their boss, Jon Miller) being able to execute a successful turnaround of the social network.

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