News of the News Corp.

News Corp. Agenda: Forget the Phone Scandal, We Sold Myspace!

Will Murdoch join Myspace?

The full News. Corp board will meet this week to discuss the fallout from the News of the World “Phone Hacking” scandal and then, on Wednesday, deliver its end of year financial report which it hopes will shift attention and allow the company to move on.

The big news on the tech side is that News Corp. finally sold off the long suffering Myspace, which had been a perpetual eye sore on its quarterly results. The purchase price wasn’t enough to move the needle, but it will stem the losses in the interactive division. The cable division and Fox in particular, are expected to deliver their typically stellar results. Read More

shameless rumormongering

Ax Descends at Myspace; Ex-Employees Leaving the Building

Well, that was fast. Gawker reported today that Myspace called two meetings this morning to announce layoffs, and it sounds like the one with the bad news just let out. Betabeat is hearing from a source in the vicinity that laid-off Myspace employees in the L.A. office are now leaving the building.(Hugs!) We pinged Myspace for comment and got redirected to News Corp. We’ll update as soon as we know just how many employees user data mining can pay for.

Privacy Police

Myspace’s 50 Million User Profiles Now Belong to an Ad Targeting Firm

Myspace’s biggest asset is arguably its userbase of somewhere between 50 and 65 million people. Myspace posted a dozen data sets on the data marketplace Infochimps in March, with information on status updates, user activity, apps, photos and more, with prices ranging from $25 to $150.

To be clear, the data on Infochimps does not personally identify users. “The data MySpace sells through Infochimps is intended to help someone track certain types of behavior at a bird’s eye level, such as how many users are in certain zip codes and how many times a certain word is mentioned on the service. The records in these data sets are completely anonymous,” a representative wrote in an email.

But the acquisition today by Specific Media is quite different. They bought the profiles lock, stock and barrel. Now they will use them for their core business, ad targeting. Considering the going prices on Infochimps, Specific just got a great bargin, picking up between 50-65 million user profiles for about fifty cents a pop.

Like Facebook, Myspace holds on to data from inactive acounts. So even users who left long ago may now become an open book for Specific Media’s clients. The company recently won a court case brought against them for the use of flash cookies. These are the so called “super cookies” or “Lord Voldermort cookies” that the WSJ is always making a big deal about in their hand wringing What They Know series.

The truth is that this is a completely new situation. Never before has a social network of this size gone on the chopping block. Are personal details about medical history, sexuality and political orientation fair game for Specific to use in as they help clients, which range from hotels to auto dealers. What about that picture Kanye West sent of his dick?

According to it’s blog, “The company is an active and longstanding member of the Network Advertising Initiative (NAI)Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), and Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA), coalitions committed to building consumer awareness and reinforcing responsible business and data management practices in the industry. Additionally, the company was the first to implement the Advertising Option Icon across its entire network, a proactive step that empowers consumers with a better understanding of and more control over the ads that they see.”

Will there be a new icon that let’s people know when the pre-roll ad in their video was sent to them based on their old Myspace profile they forget to get rid of? According to TechCrunch Myspace has already laid off 150 of its 400 employees and given another 150 a few weeks notice. It’s possible they are simply trimming own to skeleton staff before they try to initiate a turnaround. But its more likely Specific Media bought Myspace for its trove of personal data.

We have reached out to specific and their PR firm for comment and will update with any reply.

Attack of the Clones

Not to Worry, MySpace Holdouts. Clones Will Soon Keep You Company

Can you recognize the real me?

In the annals of bizzare pitches we have received from PR firms over the years, this one kind of takes the cake.

“Ready to visit your favorite social media pages and web sites to converse in real-time with the page owner? Can you imagine asking your friend how the big date went and getting an immediate, spoken answer from a digital clone? How about a customer asking specific questions about your line of products and having a life-like face of the company give a spoken response in conjunction with a set of images with further detail? It’s not some sci-fi take on tomorrow’s social media. It’s today’s reality with the release of Intellitar for Social Networks. The company, which first introduced interactive digital clones less than a year ago, has begun to move it’s technology off it’s own Virtual Eternity application and onto popular social networking sites. The first set of intellitars (aka intelligent avatars) are moving out across MySpace today. In the coming months, users of additional social networks, including Facebook and Orkut, will be joining the cloned masses.” Read More

Myspace Still

Hey, Everyone: Why Are You Giving Up On Myspace?

myspace signup

A dispatch from the sad saga of Myspace, the Tumblr-Facebook precursor once thought to be worth $327 million, comes to us from the Pew Center, which today issued a comparative report on “social networking services.” Myspace had a still-impressive 35 million visitors last month, according to comScore (although that number is dropping) and Pew has one statistic that contrasted starkly with the other social networks. A supermajority of Myspace’s users have been on the site for more than two years: 76 percent. For the other sites, that number is around 33 to 36 percent.

This is a reflection of Myspace’s inability to recruit new users, sure. Just three percent of its users joined in the last six months. But isn’t it a basic rule of sales that new customer acquisition is much more expensive than existing customer retention? Myspace’s users are highly familiar with the brand and the interface. Considering all the money flowing to start-ups whose main challenge is the struggle to recruit users, it’s hard to believe its corporate overloads (this bloodbath is all your fault anyway, News Corp.) are having so much trouble finding a buyer. Read More

Myspace Still

Rubbernecking at Myspace

myspace

Mike Arrington writes about the fascination with Myspace’s decline. “It’s like slowing down at the scene of an accident,” says an anonymous source. “This is a dramatic situation, and more drama is likely as the scene continues to unfold,” says Mr. Arrington. Can’t wait to write these words about The Daily. Read More