Today the question heard around the (tech) world: MySpace is still a thing?
The Wall Street Journal reported that MySpace’s user numbers are actually growing, years after it became the overlooked stepsister of the social media world. The site saw 575 percent growth in unique users in the last year. Of course, 525 percent of 0 is still 0, so to prove its thesis the WSJ cited a surprising statistic: MySpace still has 50 million monthly active users.
It looks like MySpace is making a mini comeback … kind of. There’s one caveat to the user data: A big chunk of the company’s monthly actives come on Thursdays due to the popularity of Throwback Thursday, the social media phenomenon where people post old pictures of themselves under the hashtag #tbt. Former Myspace fans crack open their childhood digital vault to find the goods. Members of the tech media probably did the same today after seeing the WSJ story. Proud to say I remembered my high school email (firstname.lastname@example.org….don’t ask) and password in one go.
MySpace’s resurgence can’t be entirely chalked up to the #tbt craze. Tim Vanderhook, the CEO of MySpace parent company Viant Inc., said that young people in the 17 to 25 age demographic are using it regularly. They watch enough videos on the site to make MySpace the 16th most popular online video provider according to Comscore. The social site started as a place for music and entertainment creators and fans to connect, so that still represents the bulk of the activity.
Given that MySpace was once the queen bee of social, the company still has 1 billion users registered across the world, information that advertisers want to get their hands on. The company has partnered with undisclosed “online media companies” and advertisers to do some type of cross referencing of user information, to see whether online ads actually convert to sales.
It’s unlikely the company will ever near the heights of its former glory, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t reestablish itself as a tool for a particular sect of music-loving youth. From the sounds of it, Viant Inc. is eking every potential drop of profit it can. The believed-to-be-defunct service lives on; perhaps a shadow of its former self, but still very much alive.
MySpace Tom, who left the company long ago under NewsCorp’s failed reign, now spends his days traveling the world instagramming beautiful, albeit seemingly photoshopped, shots of cultural and natural landmarks. I’ve reached out to him to hear his thoughts on MySpace’s small resurgence, and I’ll update this if I hear back.