Myspace Cries Uncle, Hands Lunch Money to Facebook

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Sometimes it just doesn’t pay to fight the inevitable. In the case of Myspace, that means admitting the unpleasant — but at the same time undeniable — fact that it has lost the social-networking race to Facebook. The News Corp. subsidiary has been doing that gradually over the past few months, and the latest move in that direction came today, with the launch of a new feature that Myspace CEO Mike Jones called “Mashup with Facebook,” which allows users to import their Facebook profile, favorites and content into Myspace.

As a number of outlets have already reported, Facebook login integration with Myspace has been available for some time now (at least since yesterday), allowing new users to sign up by using their Facebook profile in the same way many others do. Myspace also launched something called “sync with Facebook” in August, which allows users to connect their status updates and other activity with their Facebook profile or pages, and to push content from Myspace to the larger social network. Jones said Myspace was also planning to add Facebook “like” buttons to the site soon.

Dan Rose — Facebook’s VP of partnerships and platform marketing — pointed out during the news conference that thousands of other websites have already integrated with Facebook’s platform. But Myspace isn’t just any other service; it’s the company that media kingpin Rupert Murdoch paid $580 million for in 2005, convinced that buying what was then the leading social network was the route to social-media riches for News Corp. Instead, traffic to the site has plummeted, despite refocusing on music and a recent heavily promoted redesign.

Myspace CEO Mike Jones reportedly told The Telegraph at the Monaco Media Forum last week that Myspace has effectively given up the social-networking race, and now sees itself as a “social entertainment destination” (Om wrote the social network’s obituary in February, after the departure of former CEO Owen Van Natta). Jones, meanwhile, said during the press call that he’s excited about Myspace’s refocusing as an entertainment destination, and that he sees the new feature as “complementary” to Facebook.

More than anything else, this integration feels a lot like the profile and content-importing deal that Facebook struck with Orkut recently, which also sounded like a great way to suck even more life out of a smaller competitor. The recent moves by Myspace seem to be increasingly desperate attempts to avoid impending doom. In a recent conference call about News Corp.’s financial results, President Chase Carey said the site’s lifespan was being “measured in quarters, not years.”

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Post and thumbnail photos courtesy of Flickr user Nany Meta

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