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Analysis: Who'd want to buy MySpace?

Redesign and Facebook mashup fall flat

Myspace's CEO, Mike Jones (not the rapper) has confirmed he's ready to sell the company if the right offer comes along. The news broke in a report published by Bloomberg and follows web-wide rumours of a sale that have been building all week.

Just a couple of days ago, after all, Myspace announced it was canning nearly half of its staff. The company "restructured" 500 employees out of jobs, shrinking its workforce down by a whopping 47 percent. And that follows a previous bout of shrinkage in 2009, when Myspace dropped a thousand people from its payroll - almost 30 percent of its then-far-larger roster.

Even the Myspace logo hit the chopping block earlier this year. How else do you explain the company's cockamamie plan to lose five letters and change its identity to "My_____"? (To be fair, I did hear the "s" and the "p" had been making some unreasonable demands in their salary negotiations.)

All joking aside, though, things are clearly not going well for the company formerly known as "successful". Myspace's traffic has been falling faster than a 200-kilo skydiver, with half the site's visitors evaporating between mid-2009 and mid-2010. The not-so-social social network even tried luring folk back with a slightly sad plan last autumn - sign into Myspace with your Facebook ID, and we'll recommend stuff to you based on your external profile! - but while the offer may have been exciting to a few people at Myspace HQ, it didn't seem to do much in terms of nudging the traffic needle any higher.

So now, the cobwebbed, glittery-GIF-filled halls of Myspace may go to the highest bidder. That raises an important, if obvious, question: who the hell would want to buy the thing? It's an empty shell of a service that was cool years ago and shows no signs of rebounding. Not to mention the fact that the recent "hip" redesign (and yes, those are air quotes) is liable to cause a seizure in anyone over the age of 14.

(You didn't hear it from me, by the way, but there is one offer floating around out there: a hundred smackers for the whole lot. Hey, crazier things have happened.)

Honestly, I think the best outcome we can hope for at this point would be to have Yahoo step forward and take Myspace under its wing. Think about it: If Myspace became part of the Yahoo family, at least we could rest easy knowing it'd be shut down within six months.

For the love of Geocities, it's time to move on.

See also:

News Corp considering options for MySpace

MySpace slashes nearly half of its staff

5 websites that once ruled the web

MySpace redesign aims to engage 'Gen Y'

MySpace announces 'Mashup' with Facebook


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