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5 websites that once ruled the web

Once we couldn't live without these net brands

The internet generation is stunningly disloyal. Brands mean very little to us and we switch online services without a second thought. We take a look at five websites that, once upon a time, we simply couldn't live without, but now are either no longer with us, or have perhaps seen better days.

2. MySpace

Somebody transported in time from 1999 might be forgiven for thinking that MySpace was GeoCities' natural successor. They would have a point. Home pages are replaced with MySpace Profiles, and the whole thing is glued together via a social networking overlay, but there are distinct similarities.

In particular, the same eye-scratching, soul-destroying design is still a feature, although a typical MySpace profile benefits from music that starts to play automatically and reflects the individual's taste in music (or lack thereof).

Both sites are or were about creating communities. However, the key difference is that users can choose to make their MySpace profiles private, so that only people they've 'friended' can access it. Additionally, MySpace features other social networking tools such as messaging, the ability to create groups of friends, blogging, and so on.

MySpace has always been rough and ready. It's about putting your personality online. This should have succeeded but it didn't, and Facebook's more rigid approach focusing on status updates has ultimately proved more appealing. Perhaps the biggest difference was setup: MySpace was all about personalisation, which had to be done before you could get down to the business of finding friends, while Facebook let you get going straight away.

Over recent years MySpace has become most popular with musicians and performers, who appreciate its multimedia-friendly orientation, something that's still largely lacking in Facebook. This ultimately led to MySpace being rebranded as an entertainment portal, although some have questioned its decision to focus exclusively on the under 30s age group.

MySpace is still a giant in the social networking space, but it's losing visitors by the handful as time goes on. Tie-ins with Facebook aside, the writing appears to be on the wall.

NEXT PAGE: Hotmail

  1. We couldn't live without these sites
  2. MySpace
  3. Hotmail
  4. Slashdot
  5. AltaVista

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