By Danny Brown
In a move that won’t surprise as many people as it would have this time last year, Fox Interactive Media has announced it will be cutting its workforce by as many as 100 jobs. Fox is the parent company of social network site MySpace as well as Photobucket and various mobile sites.
The move, which accounts for 5% of employees across the board, is another sign that MySpace and Photobucket are falling increasingly behind in the social networking battle. With Facebook and Flickr taking away much of the core audience of Fox Interactive’s babies, the signs aren’t good for Tom Anderson and his friends.
But is it such a surprise?
Despite MySpace’s redesign last year to offer a better advertising platform as well as a more open network for users to access multiple social accounts, they’ve been falling behind Facebook for a while. While there’s no denying MySpace’s popularity in the US, outside of the States it’s Facebook that’s enjoyed a wider uptake.
Recent figures from comScore show Facebook receiving almost twice as many unique visitors as MySpace worldwide. Why the difference?
MySpace seems to be suffering from the “too much of a closed niche” syndrome. Right or wrong, the network is viewed as a place solely for bands to promote their music. Facebook is more of a “social” social network with more personalization available. With the likes of iLike and blip.fm available, there’s even less reason to be on a music-dedicated site (or at least that’s the view).
Add the growing presence of Twitter and MySpace seems to be the social network that nobody is really talking about anymore.
It’s not all bad news. According to a MySpace spokeseperson, they are still looking to take on new staff over the remainder of the year. And NewsCorp, the parent company of Fox Interactive Media, isn’t exactly a slouch in the monetary department.
The question is, with monetization of social networks still a thorny issue and advertising spending down, how much money will NewsCorp be willing to throw at MySpace, and for how long?
Danny Brown is the owner of Press Release PR, a boutique agency specializing in social media and PR convergence. He is a blog partner of the iEntry and WebProNews business network and the founder of the 12for12k Challenge.