Between January and February 2011, says Comscore, worldwide unique visitors to MySpace declined by a staggering 14.4% from 73 million visitors to 63 million visitors. It’s about half of the audience they had a year ago.
Everyone knows MySpace traffic is going the wrong way, but the accelerating decline (and big financial losses) is a serious problem. Parent company News Corp. is in the middle of a sale process, and everyone from venture firms to private equity firms to operating companies are taking a look. “It’s like slowing down at the scene of an accident,” says one person with knowledge of the discussions, “everyone wants to take a look at how bad things have become.”
The problem with negative growth is that predictive modeling has to be thrown out the window. And an accelerating decline in audience suggests that MySpace won’t be stabilizing soon. Right now, people are fleeing as fast as they can from the site.
News Corp. seems sensitive to getting a lot less than they paid for MySpace – $580 million in 2005. That price isn’t going to happen, which means a spinoff may be the best PR solution for MySpace. It’s not clear, though, that MySpace head Mike Jones has a go forward plan that anyone really cares for, say sources. MySpace had around 95 million unique visitors when the site was redesigned from the ground up and relaunched late last year. By any measure that relaunch has amounted to nothing more than a medieval-era bloodletting, weakening the patient further.
MySpace, once the king of the Internet, is in very real danger of becoming just a footnote in Internet history.
This is a dramatic situation, and more drama is likely as the scene continues to unfold.