Myspace Reportedly Gearing Up for Huge Layoffs

By Tracey E. Schelmetic January 04, 2011

Remember Myspace? Apparently, few other people do. According to the Wall Street Journal sources, the site, which is owned by News Corp., is gearing up for a “dramatic downsizing of its business.” One source told the Journal that the site could lay off between one-third and half of its roughly 1,100 employees. Another source revealed that the downsizing may be announced as soon as this month.

Myspace (once styled “MySpace”) was, once upon a time, the most popular social networking site in the U.S. and a credible competitor to Facebook. According to comScore, however, Myspace was overtaken internationally by Facebook in April 2008 based on monthly unique visitors, and interest in the service has waned dramatically since then. The company already laid off 30 percent of its workforce in June 2009, so this rumored downsizing will be its second major one in a year and a half.

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., (which also owns the Wall Street Journal) acquired Myspace in 2005 for $580 million. Since that time, Myspace has struggled to remain competitive (and changed senior management several times) while watching Facebook's popularity soar worldwide. Myspace had 54.4 million unique U.S. visitors in November, down 15 percent from a year ago, according to comScore. Advertising spending on Myspace was expected to decline 37 percent last year to $347 million, according to research firm eMarketer.

Myspace has not commented publicly about the lay-off rumors.

In December, Myspace was rumored to be for sale when News Corp. COO Chase Carey told the Wall Street Journal that the company was “open to all options for Myspace pending an overhaul of the struggling social networking website,” as reported by TechZone360.

Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TechZone360. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

TechZone360 Contributor

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