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News Corp. Looking To Sell MySpace

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the betting-wrong dept.

Social Networks 146

rudy_wayne writes "News Corp. is reportedly trying to sell MySpace for $100 million, a fraction of the $580 million it originally paid for the social network in 2005. Parties interested in acquiring MySpace include private equity firm THL Partners, Redscout Ventures and Criterion Capital, owner of social network Bebo (the company AOL bought for $850 million and then sold for $10 million). Chinese Internet holding company Tencent is also reportedly interested, and so is MySpace co-founder Chris De Wolfe. What's not yet clear is what any of these companies plan to do with MySpace if a sale goes through." This follows news of massive layoffs and a rapidly shrinking userbase in recent months.

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146 comments

I'll throw in $50 if you'll just kill it (4, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#35973898)

Or, here's an idea, how about you remove those annoying sparkly custom backgrounds, autoplaying songs, pages that look like a 13-year-old girl threw up all over them, incredibly intrusive advertising, the overlapping spaghetti code of multiple scripts, and ridiculous clutter? You know...become Facebook.

Re:I'll throw in $50 if you'll just kill it (4, Insightful)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#35973942)

Hopefully without the impossible to decipher maze of privacy settings, security issues, harvesting user data for advertisers, etc?

Re:I'll throw in $50 if you'll just kill it (1)

x*yy*x (2058140) | more than 2 years ago | (#35974662)

What's so hard about Facebook privacy settings? I find them really easy and understandable. Preview your profile as specific person makes it even easier to change it exactly how you want it.

Re:I'll throw in $50 if you'll just kill it (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 2 years ago | (#35974870)

I find it even easier to just not log onto Facebook. And if you close your account, make sure to delete all Facebook cookies and password saves, as any inadvertent blundering into Facebook.com name-space will likely automatically 'reactivate' your account.

Re:I'll throw in $50 if you'll just kill it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35974874)

Facebook's privacy policies change every week. Every time they decide to update Facebook, they either disable some privacy feature that previously existed or they decide to add some new feature that exposes users to new vectors of attack.

Re:I'll throw in $50 if you'll just kill it (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#35974046)

At this point that's like trying to become a better WoW than WoW, good luck. I definitively think they need to try being something very different from Facebook - in a good way - if they are to survive.

Re:I'll throw in $50 if you'll just kill it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35974114)

At this point that's like trying to become a better WoW than WoW, good luck. I definitively think they need to try being something very different from Facebook - in a good way - if they are to survive.

Something like facebook that is actually open would be a massive step up in my view. The issue with facebook isn't so much that their collecting data, as that data is not immediately surfaced. MySpace use to do this pretty well, but it died off when they started to disallow searching by keywords to find other people. In my view MySpace was great before NewsCorp fucked it up - it was the only network you could go on and actually find people by location and interests - now theres nothing, Facebook doesn't even allow that because they want to horde all the data so badly its just one giant fucking scam to aquire more subversively rather than surface any of it that is even useful for personal use.

Re:I'll throw in $50 if you'll just kill it (2)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#35974184)

But you're right - MySpace's advantage was that you could meet new people there. On Facebook there's really no such convention. Myspace could try to reinvent itself as a simple, open platform that promises not to make their service an ad-serving platform.

Instead of "a place for friends", how about a secure, private place for "old friends and new friends"

Re:I'll throw in $50 if you'll just kill it (1)

rudy_wayne (414635) | more than 2 years ago | (#35974338)

Myspace could try to reinvent itself as a simple, open platform that promises not to make their service an ad-serving platform.

Not going to happen. Whoever buys MySpace will have spent $100M and they are going to be looking for a return on their investment. That means ads, ads and more ads.

Re:I'll throw in $50 if you'll just kill it (1)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 2 years ago | (#35974394)

Myspace could try to reinvent itself as a simple, open platform that promises not to make their service an ad-serving platform.

So in other words, completely remove all revenue generating capabilities and turn it into a massive black hole for the owners cash. Where do I submit my bid?

Re:I'll throw in $50 if you'll just kill it (1)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#35974502)

This is /., that's what passes for a good business idea - something which will never make any money.

(actually this would need to promise that you'd be sued into oblivion for it to be a /. business idea, but...)

Re:I'll throw in $50 if you'll just kill it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35975530)

"nstead of "a place for friends", how about a secure, private place for "old friends and new friends""

If you want a friend, get a dog.

Re:I'll throw in $50 if you'll just kill it (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 2 years ago | (#35974290)

At this point that's like trying to become a better WoW than WoW,

I hate MMORPGs but I hear FF11 is far better designed than WoW. I'll stick to things I can buy, own, and casual play when I'm alone, rather than soul-sucking life sinks that purport to "let you socialize instead of isolate yourself" while you talk to people you never meet over a computer for 8 hours a day.

Re:I'll throw in $50 if you'll just kill it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35974464)

So you prefer playing alone, and hate socializing with people for 8 hours a day? And then you say WoW is life sucking? Wtf?

Re:I'll throw in $50 if you'll just kill it (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 2 years ago | (#35975510)

I don't have to do an 8 hour campaign in all one shot because my "friends" are on. I can get up and do other stuff. I can do my laundry and cook while I play. I can play for 2 hours to get past a certain part and then save and come back later. I can play on weekends or burn out the last 2 hours after work on some nights when I have no other obligations.

Re:I'll throw in $50 if you'll just kill it (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 2 years ago | (#35975160)

I hate MMORPGs but I hear FF11 is far better designed than WoW.

Having played both, I can safely say you heard wrong... and there are a few million other people that are likely to agree,

Re:I'll throw in $50 if you'll just kill it (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 2 years ago | (#35975552)

What I heard about FF11 was it's far more consistent and sensible, the simplest example being that monsters drop things like skin and tails and feathers rather than finished potions and completely constructed pieces of armor or boots or whatnot--why does a bird have boots? Players who move from one to the other tend to comment that WoW seems to be a hackery of rewards systems and diversions (i.e. side quests), while FF11 tends to be the exact same thing, but made with the forethought of "okay does this make sense?"

But as I've said, I play neither. I can only go by what I've heard.

Re:I'll throw in $50 if you'll just kill it (2)

Xacid (560407) | more than 2 years ago | (#35974060)

Pretty much nailed it.

Ish.

Take it back to before facebook discovered apps and changed the layout twice a year. You know, when it was simple and did what it was supposed to do.

And yes, didn't look like my little pony and bratz got shoved into a blender.

Re:I'll throw in $50 if you'll just kill it (3, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#35974206)

my little pony and bratz got shoved into a blender.

That's a pretty good way of putting it. I still get headaches even thinking about some of the pages on MySpace. I had one particularly tasteless friend whose page would have given a Japanese kid seizures.

Re:I'll throw in $50 if you'll just kill it (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#35975540)

That wasn't what killed it. People liked being able to customize your own page. That's all some people talked about for a while.

But that wasn't what killed it. You couldn't truly customize it: it was covered with the ugliest ads known to man. Even if you had amazingly good designer sense, it was still an ugly page. Who really wants ads for adult friendfinder on their home page? No one, especially in their primary demographic.

Re:I'll throw in $50 if you'll just kill it (1)

alostpacket (1972110) | more than 2 years ago | (#35974288)

Isn't that basically what Friendster was? People seem to forget them when talking about how Facebook beat MySpace. They always chalk it up to the clean design, but forget the faux exclusivity that Facebook used as marketing originally (limiting membership to .edu email addresses).

Re:I'll throw in $50 if you'll just kill it (1)

shish (588640) | more than 2 years ago | (#35974328)

remove those [...] pages that look like a 13-year-old girl threw up all over them

Alienate their core (only) audience, in order to become a second-rate competitor to facebook, in a market where second place is nothing? I'm not sure I see the benefit of this over your "$50 to kill it" suggestion...

Re:I'll throw in $50 if you'll just kill it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35975270)

I'll pay $100 if you'll just kill Facebook.
And another $50 if you do it by raping it to pieces.

Follow the leaders (1)

JoeCommodore (567479) | more than 2 years ago | (#35973920)

Microsoft, here's your chance!

Re:Follow the leaders (5, Informative)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#35973948)

Microsoft doesn't buy ruined companies, they buy decent ones and THEN ruin them.

Re:Follow the leaders (2)

grub (11606) | more than 2 years ago | (#35974006)


Microsoft doesn't buy ruined companies, they buy decent ones and THEN ruin them.

Two negatives makes a positive!

Yeah, what failures! (5, Insightful)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 2 years ago | (#35975060)

Microsoft doesn't buy ruined companies, they buy decent ones and THEN ruin them.

Yeah, Bungie, Visio, and Hotmail sure dissapeared after Microsoft bought them. Oh wait...

Ruin, really? Before Google came along, Hotmail WAS webmail. And it's still hugely successful. Bungie helped fuel the rise of Microsoft's XBox empire. MS's purchase of Great Plains financial software has vaulted the Dynamics line from a small offering that caters to small offices to a large ERP suite that is increasingly muscling in on Oracle's and SAP's territory.

Looking at Microsoft's long history of acquisitions [wikipedia.org], it's hard to objectively say that most of them were busts. Most of them were purchased simply so that MS could integrate their products into existing suites. Microsoft bought Forethought.. the company that created Powerpoint.. for $14 million dollars. How much money do you think PowerPoint has made for Microsoft over the years? Me, I'd say that purchase has paid for itself many times over. And while you may hate it (and I certainly do), calling PowerPoint a a failure would be pure BS. It's The Standard in presentation software.

There are other numerous examples of now retired software products that, at the time, made tremendous sense to buy. FoxPro, for instance, was enormously popular, and made MS a lot of money. Ditto for Frontpage. For years, if you didn't know HTML, Frontpage was pretty much the way to get a web page up. Again, and it was tremendously successful in the market.

Here's a basic truth that we here at Slashdot are loathe to admit: Microsoft is a successful company because they've got some pretty smart people working there. All that money didn't just come from nowhere. They kinda know what they're doing over there in Redmond, you know?

Re:Yeah, what failures! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35975286)

Microsoft doesn't buy ruined companies, they buy decent ones and THEN ruin them.

They kinda know what they're doing over there in Redmond, you know?

One does not walk into Redmond. It is a barren wasteland. The very air you breathe is a poisonous fume. And the Ballmer is ever watchful...

Re:Yeah, what failures! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35975812)

Hotmail was far superior before M$ took it over.

Re:Yeah, what failures! (1)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 2 years ago | (#35976014)

Microsoft doesn't buy ruined companies, they buy decent ones and THEN ruin them.

Yeah, Bungie, Visio, and Hotmail sure dissapeared after Microsoft bought them. Oh wait...

Ruin, really?

One word... FrontPage. There are more, of course, and we could go on trading licks all day, but in the end, the corpses of products that were killed by Microsoft would probably outnumber those still living. And yes, by the time MS got done with it, FrontPage deserved to die, but that's the whole point.

Shoveling dirt (1)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#35973930)

And nothing of value was lost.

(although I guess shitty local bands are going to have to find some other way to annoy people)

Re:Shoveling dirt (2)

hubie (108345) | more than 2 years ago | (#35974022)

So what is the over-under in years until we hear this kind of story about Facebook?

Re:Shoveling dirt (3, Interesting)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#35974142)

Facebook has been adopted by the audience that is slow to adopt and slow to move away as well, which is older people.

Myspace was never generally being used by people over 30 or so (maybe even 25), and it wasn't used to connect with family or long-lost friends. It was being used the way Twitter is used today.

Facebook created a niche and I think will occupy it for the foreseeable future. Myspace's niche was gobbled up 75% by Twitter, 25% by facebook.

older people (1)

formfeed (703859) | more than 2 years ago | (#35974574)

Facebook has been adopted by the audience that is slow to adopt and slow to move away as well, which is older people. ... Facebook created a niche and I think will occupy it for the foreseeable future.

True. Really, really old people (30+) [xkcd.com] give stability to your platform.

But it is the irresponsible and naive young that drive the ad-revenue.

Re:older people (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#35974792)

But it is the irresponsible and naive young that drive the ad-revenue.

It is? That's interesting. I'd think that the less tech-savvy (thus more likely to 'fall' for ads) and with more disposable income would provide more revenue.

Re:Shoveling dirt (1)

S.O.B. (136083) | more than 2 years ago | (#35975052)

I think you're right. Although I can see three things that could make a dent in Facebook:

1. Someone with big money that has a new take on the problem and gets it to market way ahead of Facebook. Someone like Google is big enough that they could take a run at Facebook if they wanted to.

2. An open platform (perhaps Diaspora or something like it) where people can be assured of some control over their personal information and privacy. This would tap into a new market of those who have been wary of Facebook in the past and appeal to existing Facebook users who are also concerned about privacy but grudging joined so they wouldn't be "left out".

3. Facebook fatigue and platform inertia. Facebook is as much a fad as Geocities and Myspace before them. Unless they are constantly innovating and evolving their ecosystem a new player/fad can pop up and dethrone them. And the more mature the Facebook platform becomes the more difficult it is to keep the platform evolving at the same pace. Sooner or later someone comes along that is more agile and flies right past you because they don't have the same baggage to contend with.

Re:Shoveling dirt (1)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 2 years ago | (#35974410)

MySpace has always been shit... And except for lol-privacy-panic crowd FaceBook actually has a pretty damn decent service. Ever notice how uncluttered the site is?

Overvalued ... (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#35974008)

What I find most interesting about this summary is just how overvalued some of these companies became, and that someone actually was willing to pay that much:

reportedly trying to sell MySpace for $100 million, a fraction of the $580 million it originally paid for the social network in 2005. Parties interested in acquiring MySpace include private equity firm THL Partners, Redscout Ventures and Criterion Capital, owner of social network Bebo (the company AOL bought for $850 million and then sold for $10 million)

I mean ... bought for $580M and sold for $100M ... bought for $850M and sold for $10M ... those are really big differences in the valuations of these things.

This further reaffirms my belief that the 'market' has long ago given up on actual fundamentals of 'value', and mostly follow hype and become totally irrational. It's all funny money and speculation. I always though financial people were supposed to know better.

I can't wait until we 'learn' that neither Facebook nor Zynga are actually worth what people say they are now.

Re:Overvalued ... (3, Funny)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#35974204)

AOL didn't become AOL by making smart business decisions.

They made it by doing things like thinking Bebo was a great product.

Re:Overvalued ... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35974282)

MySpace WAS valued at $580 million.

It's not that the original value was incorrect. It's that MySpace LOST value over time. I can buy a $1500 computer today, and in 6 months it will be worth $1000, and in another 6 months it will be worth $700. That doesn't mean the original price I paid was incorrect. It just means that computers lose value quickly.

Likewise, websites can gain value very quickly, and lose value very quickly. They are high-risk. It could have very well been that MySpace evolved into what Facebook is today, and valued in the billions. In which case, NewsCorp would have been praised for their smart move at buying it at $580 million.

Re:Overvalued ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35974620)

But why did NewsCorp think they could evaluate the risk? They have competency in news and media, not social networking. For example if I'm an art collector, I'm going to buy art because I know the trends, and not buy a copper mine which I know nothing about.

Re:Overvalued ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35974976)

Sure, hindsight is 20/20.

Social networking was a new market. NewsCorp jumped in because they probably thought it was an evolution of their media distribution business. They were wrong.

Now we have Facebook, and we have a clear picture of how social networking is "suppose" to work. Facebook defined that for us. Just like how Apple defined how tablets are "suppose" to work, and now everything is compared against that.

I'm not saying that NewsCorp made a good decision, I'm simply saying that they took a risk, and it didn't pay off. That happens. No one knew at the time that it was a stupid idea. Sure, we have the peanut gallery saying it's a bad idea, but really: how many of us are qualified to even say that? NewsCorp failed, and now those who said it would fail feel like they were right all along, but they really have no idea and just happened by chance to pick the correct result. Where was their "expert" opinion about the NY Times pay-wall that was suppose to fail miserably?

Re:Overvalued ... (1)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | more than 2 years ago | (#35975214)

We're talking about a company owned by Rupert Murdoch here. Remember, he's the guy who claimed copyright on the word "Sky" and sued Skype over it.

These guys aren't so bright. After putting up their paywall to protect their web content, they found that readership dropped..... One article suggests that advertisers are much less interested in News Corp because of their paywall decision - less traffic = fewer sales.

Personally, I say more power to them. I think stupidity should be encouraged. They should definitely hold out for $100 million on MySpace. By the time they realize that nobody is buying, it will be dead, and I will laugh.

Re:Overvalued ... (1)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#35974380)

kids in a garage or harvard make a cool website that becomes popular. copycats follow. the originals get financing and don't want to sell since they are the best and can make more money.

giant mega corps take notice of new trends and want to get in on them. of course they can't make something themselves because after the endless meetings and changes by MBA's no one will ever want to use the product. so they buy one of the copycats for a ridiculous premium.

the current employees are afraid and don't want anything to do with the new purchase so it sits in limbo unable to grow and doesn't really do anything. until the market leader kills it off by taking the market

Facebook and Zynga actually make money. close to $1 billion in profits each last i read

Re:Overvalued ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35974532)

yeah except in this story, facebook WAS the copycat

Re:Overvalued ... (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#35974516)

The way you present it is a bit misleading, the thing is you can look like a strong competitor but then it turns out the market ran with somebody else. Take something like AltaVista, they were a huge search engine around 1998. Unless you had a very good crystal ball you could easily think they would become what Google is today. Google doesn't sound like such a bad investment, does it?

Same with social sites, if there's anything that has network effects it's this. You* are on Facebook because everyone else is on Facebook, it all gravitates towards one big network. The winner will be a huge Google-class company, the others will be an AltaVista-class nobody. MySpace is in the "nobody" class, but that's easy to say in retrospect. It's all about what it potentially could have been.

* well, everyone EXCEPT you then

This further reaffirms my belief that the 'market' has long ago given up on actual fundamentals of 'value', and mostly follow hype and become totally irrational. It's all funny money and speculation. I always though financial people were supposed to know better.

If you give an absolutely certain cash flow, I can tell you on the cent what that's worth. It will be pretty close to the bank interest, because otherwise everybody (if over) or nobody (if under) would invest in it. Everybody else are speculating, even if you think that "oh this company has really good products and I think they'll sell well in the future" and invest long term that's speculation. And if *everybody* thinks that, then it'll already be priced so in the market. Then you're speculating that they'll do even better than the market thinks (or short because you think it'll do worse, but that's generally considered more speculative). Even things that lower your risk are speculation, if you fix the interest rate on your loan (or savings) you are taking a bet against the money market, compared to floating interest. It just a matter of degree.

Re:Overvalued ... (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 2 years ago | (#35975104)

Altavista was an advertisement for DEC. It wasn't a search company. If you thought it would somehow win out over a dedicated search company, you weren't paying any attention to reality.

Re:Overvalued ... (1)

johnjaydk (584895) | more than 2 years ago | (#35975304)

Everybody else are speculating, even if you think that "oh this company has really good products and I think they'll sell well in the future" and invest long term that's speculation.

NO. That is called investing. Gambling on a company becoming profitable and giving a good ROI is a GOOD THING.

Speculation is disregarding the prospect of ROI and just gambling that the stock price will go up. Just like the resent housing bobble.

Re:Overvalued ... (1)

dev.null.matt (2020578) | more than 2 years ago | (#35974680)

What I find most interesting about this summary is just how overvalued some of these companies became, and that someone actually was willing to pay that much:

reportedly trying to sell MySpace for $100 million, a fraction of the $580 million it originally paid for the social network in 2005. Parties interested in acquiring MySpace include private equity firm THL Partners, Redscout Ventures and Criterion Capital, owner of social network Bebo (the company AOL bought for $850 million and then sold for $10 million)

I mean ... bought for $580M and sold for $100M ... bought for $850M and sold for $10M ... those are really big differences in the valuations of these things.

This further reaffirms my belief that the 'market' has long ago given up on actual fundamentals of 'value', and mostly follow hype and become totally irrational. It's all funny money and speculation. I always though financial people were supposed to know better.

I can't wait until we 'learn' that neither Facebook nor Zynga are actually worth what people say they are now.

And groupon, don't forget them.

Re:Overvalued ... (1)

chemicaldave (1776600) | more than 2 years ago | (#35974852)

They're valuable as long as they remain popular and advertisers pay for access to their users. Where don't you see the value in that? It's just a very volatile and competitive market. Myspace didn't lose value because of a bubble, it lost value because it lost users. It's true that there is a lot of hype in valuing Internet companies. I don't believe Facebook is really for $50bn, but that doesn't mean it has no value. In all markets there will be people who overvalue goods.

Re:Overvalued ... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#35975474)

They're valuable as long as they remain popular and advertisers pay for access to their users. Where don't you see the value in that? It's just a very volatile and competitive market. Myspace didn't lose value because of a bubble, it lost value because it lost users

I'm not entirely convinced of that ... advertisers are willing to pay the money because they have also bought into the hype. They're part of the bubble. In fact, they probably make the most money except for the 3-4 guys who become overnight billionaires.

Nowadays, it seems like you could put "social" in front of anything, and everyone will flock to it as the new hotness, and throw cash at you. In a lot of ways, it's reminiscent of the .COM bubble -- if you added .COM to your company name, and had something resembling an idea, you could get VC money thrown at you as everyone speculated that you'd make them rich. Next thing you know, you're liquidating 100 Herman Miller chairs in your bankruptcy clear out.

I'm not saying these things don't have some degree of 'value' -- I'm saying that the 'value' is very intangible and fleeting, and it can evaporate as quickly as it came. Precisely like when AOL bought Time Warner with stocks that were eventually worthless.

The more it gets over-valued, the more it becomes a ponzi scheme -- nobody wants to be the last one holding it when it crashes, and in the meantime, it gets traded for literally years worth of projected revenue. Everybody knows it's not worth 100 years (or whatever) of revenue in the long term ... but in the short term, as long as people still pay those prices and it keeps going up, you can make some cash.

To me, that pretty much defines a bubble. You know it's unsustainable, but as long as you can get in and out before that actually happens, you're golden. This isn't anything more than betting on fads. Which, isn't any different than anything else ... I just find it much more glaring with tech stuff.

Re:Overvalued ... (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 2 years ago | (#35975598)

I think this kind of bad deals are more frequent than we think. The difference is that some firms are allowed to fail, and some are not. Some of it has to do when the management is just so incompentant and criminal that nothing can be done, as in the case of Enron who paid 100 million to put their name on a baseball stadium. It is one thing for Newscorp or AOL to pay 850 million for a firm, another for $100 million billboard.

Then there is the financial firm and car manufacturers who seem to make equally silly decisions, paying huge sums for services that produce no product, and then the public is expected to foot the bills when the parties get so expensive they dwarf revenue. Certainly is appropriate for companies with the financial capability to risk some of the funds in prudently risky ventures. They key here is that the risk should be to the firm, and not spread out over a population that was not going to benefit significantly if the risk paid off.

Re:Overvalued ... (1)

Myopic (18616) | more than 2 years ago | (#35976204)

Just to be clear, the market has always followed irrational hype. The canonical example is tulip bulbs, but you could go way back to purple dye. It's the nature of human beings.

if news corp is selling it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35974016)

.... it means it has no value

Obligatory Simpsons... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35974026)

[Homer Simpson]

"My Space".... is that thing still around?

[/Homer Simpson]

Re:Obligatory Simpsons... (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 2 years ago | (#35974292)

Homer: Oh, yeah! I'm betting on Jai-alai in the Cayman Islands, I invested in
              something called "News Corp"--
Lisa: Dad, that's Fox!
Homer: [shrieks] Undo! Undo! [hits key, sighs]

There is opportunity here (4, Interesting)

lwsimon (724555) | more than 2 years ago | (#35974044)

Seriously - a company could make a ton here.

$100m for the "MySpace" name is what this amounts to. Take it, shut it down for a month, and relaunch the service completely re-invented. Take from Facebook what works (clean, simple, consistent layout; an accessible auth system; cater to businesses), and loudly fix some of its shortcomings (Insane privacy issues; constantly changing API and business pages; vendor lock-in). I think it would be an enormous hit.

Hell - simply allowing users to stick with old versions of the service for a year after new changes launch would garner a lot of attention. How many silly "Bring back the old Facebook!!!" groups exist?

Re:There is opportunity here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35974178)

Silly "Bring back the old facebook" groups?

Facebook went from a customizable, usable but messy layout to a clean, difficult to use, confusing layout.

I've basically given up on facebook, I use it mostly through my blackberry for those people who prefer facebook to email.

Re:There is opportunity here (1)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 2 years ago | (#35974242)

Hell - simply allowing users to stick with old versions of the service for a year after new changes launch would garner a lot of attention. How many silly "Bring back the old Facebook!!!" groups exist?

I'm not defending Facebook here, but I'm currently working on software projects where we have to keep old crufty features around for ONE customer. Its not necessarily easy to support and manage these things. To do it right entails a detailed configuration page to set the various feature options, to half-ass it means managing some magic strings in a configuration file. Support becomes harder because you have to determine what options the customer has set before you can assist them and sort out the issue. Testing takes longer because you have to test both old and new features in conjunction.

Re:There is opportunity here (1)

lwsimon (724555) | more than 2 years ago | (#35974342)

Yes, that's the case. I didn't say it would be easy on the developers - I'm coming at this from a marketing perspective.

Being able to say "We will not retire features without a year's warning, pressing security issues aside" would be a great marketing tactic to the stupid number of people who are resistant to change.

Re:There is opportunity here (1)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 2 years ago | (#35974646)

But even on the marketing side, isn't it still more complexity and more work? You're going from selling one product with a fixed set of features to a product with a variable set of features.

Re:There is opportunity here (1)

Archon-X (264195) | more than 2 years ago | (#35975344)

Honestly, the people that complain loudly about new changes in FB [etc] are more than likely the people that spend too much time on the site - and are hence never going to leave.

For the casual user, the changes don't interrupt them seeing which friend is doing what.

All in all - nothing of value is lost by removing older features.

Re:There is opportunity here (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 2 years ago | (#35974420)

simply allowing users to stick with old versions of the service for a year after new changes launch would garner a lot of attention

Only problem is it would take a year for that to gather attention. Meanwhile you don't have those $100 million that could have been used to something immediately profitable. And you can bet Facebook wouldn't stand still, as soon as you implement something good they would copy it.

Re:There is opportunity here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35974490)

Uh no.

Branding is everything. The MySpace brand is lousy. If you're going to develop something new, then just create a new name, and new brand. The only value MySpace has is the small amount of traffic (that is quickly going down) and any old data on users that can be mined.

Re:There is opportunity here (1)

geniice (1336589) | more than 2 years ago | (#35974828)

That's been tried several times with Napster and hasn't worked out. In fact I can't think of any of the web's fallen giants who've managed to make a comeback.

Re:There is opportunity here (1)

Quirkz (1206400) | more than 2 years ago | (#35975734)

What about the whatever-dot-com sock puppet that made it into the ads for that other thing?

Re:There is opportunity here (1)

chemicaldave (1776600) | more than 2 years ago | (#35974866)

Or better yet, why doesn't Facebook buy it and keep the layout so it still retains the old customers who refuse to switch. Though I'd be curious to know how long it would take to earn a decent ROI.

Re:There is opportunity here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35975202)

I don't think that is how the market works. It's not about features. Sure, some features help but after that it's purely about marketing and image.

Look at Apple for example, their products aren't particularly spectacular. However their image is the wet dream of any marketer. Competitors are cheaper and have better features but they aren't Apple.

Same with Facebook. It has carved out its place in the daily lifes of a broad spectrum of people. A better service couldn't compete with that except for a small niche or a bajillion marketing dollars.

Re:There is opportunity here (1)

shoptroll (544006) | more than 2 years ago | (#35975706)

$100 million for 34 million users is a marketing department's wet dream. Screw relaunching the service, someone is going to snatch this up, harvest the user data and close everything down before spaming the living crap out of everyone.

It sounds worse than it is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35974058)

"The landmark search advertising deal between Google and News Corp. is set to expire on June 30, 2010, just a little more than a year from now. The $900 million deal, announced in August 2006 .."

in language News Corp can understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35974180)

Haw haw!

Hahaha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35974200)

I can't wait until this happens to Facebook.

I'll give you a dollar (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#35974340)

and you can keep 40%

Re:I'll give you a dollar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35974430)

I'll give you a dollar...and you can keep 40%

At this rate, they're lucky that Tencent is offering more than $0.10...

Purchase Value vs.Sale Value Does't Equal Profits (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35974354)

People see the initial price tag, and then the garage sale sticker five years later, and presume that the deal was a waste.

That's like buying a new car, selling a used car and then claiming the whole venture was worthless.

The ultimate value of MySpace to News Corp. while it was in their possession, is really only known to News Corp.

Remember: this is a company bent on manipulating social order, augmenting the outcome of elections, provoking and supporting wars in which (and I'm lowballing here) tens of thousands die. I bet owning MySpace allowed them to be privy to data that was either otherwise impossible to obtain, or would have demanded hideous expenses in consulting fees.

Just because it appears as a cost center on paper does not mean it was a bad decision.

Re:Purchase Value vs.Sale Value Does't Equal Profi (1)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 2 years ago | (#35975548)

I'd mark this insightful if I could. Great points. Even just looking at ad revenue would likely prove out a slight profit after the sale. Add the sale of data mining activities, etc and it should be profitable on paper plus the other bonuses you mentioned.

Simplify and secure (1)

paiute (550198) | more than 2 years ago | (#35974592)

Ban company pages. Ban movie pages. Ban everything except people. Make it harder to become a 'friend'.

News Corp killed it (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 2 years ago | (#35974604)

They should be lucky to get anything for it. Most MySpace pages make Geocities look like art and on top of that anyone who may have cared about it ran away the second Murdoch and his evil empire touched it. Only old people like Murdoch. Everyone else would rather not support him.

new aol (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35974694)

Come on Facebook buy MySpace so you will be the new AOL.

I hope Facebook is next (1)

Deliveranc3 (629997) | more than 2 years ago | (#35975372)

It hasn't felt like the UI is designed for usability in a long while. Now there's restrictions on posting URLs and all kinds of other crappola.

How about Slashdot admin's put Slashdot back to where it was 3 years ago and go make a "social networking site".

I'd sign up.

Cash tender offer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35975518)

I've got $4.57 in my hand, cash money, that I'd pay for MySpace. Contact me if interested ... myspace.com/frustratedfortyishwannabeteen

/nelsonlaugh (1)

shoptroll (544006) | more than 2 years ago | (#35975676)

Good work Mr. Murdoch.

We'll probably see him selling the NYT next after the great paywall failure.

Re:/nelsonlaugh (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#35975894)

We'll probably see him selling the NYT next after the great paywall failure.

That would be really impressive seeing as he doesn't own it. You're probably thinking of the Wall St Journal, which is a completely different publication.

My vote is for Chris (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35976148)

Lets go with someone that has a vision not an investment firm. If you don't have a vision then the company shrivel and dies as is evidenced by Myspace's current condition.

But in all reality the only thing Myspace has going for it is it's name and that's barely worth $10 million. It's much easier to just build good sites to begin with that don't have any expectation for a return on investment over the short term while you build up the brand. And whatever you do, don't sell control of the company away.

Understand this financial people, you can't buy social networking companies. You can only invest in them short term. You will always need a social team with a team leader like Steve Jobs. And that company will always need to reinvent itself with experimental sites which it can later incorporate into itself. You create, you don't buy. If it's not original and different then no one will care.

Only $100 Million? (1)

tunapez (1161697) | more than 2 years ago | (#35976190)

Geez, why not make up a higher number? Considering modern economists aren't really constrained by reality when it comes to eValuations, let's just add another zero and make it a mere $1Billion.
 
  Anyone hear of the dot-com bubble? If that is too ancient to recall, perhaps I could use a real estate metaphor...

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