News Corp.)旗下的社交网络正在计划大量裁员。很显然,这是在为减负作准备,以降低公司成本。 《彭博商业周刊》(Bloomberg

《彭博商业周刊》本周的封面报道题为《MySpace的崛起和可耻的衰落》(The Rise and Inglorious Fall of












It appears that MySpace might finally find sweet relief from its long,
slow, painful demise. News reports on the company this week read like
obituaries: The News Corp.-owned social network is planning massive layoffs,
apparently in preparation to unload the company for a pittance.

Those developments followed a detailed post-mortem from Bloomberg
BusinessWeek. Its cover story this week, "The Rise and Inglorious Fall of
MySpace," recounts how "[m]ismanagement, a flawed merger, and countless
strategic blunders have accelerated Myspace's fall…"

While it's surely true that MySpace's doom was hastened by News Corp.'s
(NWS) bumbling management since the media giant bought the company for $580
million in 2005, it could be argued that the MySpace was doomed from the

It's difficult to remember now, but MySpace was once considered cool.
When it started in 2003, it was largely devoted to indie music, with bands
joining to create profiles for themselves and circulate their music. The site
never really tried to capitalize on that core audience. Anything that's
considered cool is almost guaranteed to fall out of fashion. Not long after News
Corp.'s purchase, predictions of MySpace's fall began circulating, even as the
site was still growing. And not long after that, Facebook began to rise in

Facebook, having been sort-of nerdy-cool in its early days, has since
transcended the whole cool-uncool spectrum. More importantly, it was much more
user-friendly and accessible to the mainstream. MySpace, meantime, insisted on
sticking with a garish design and music that autostarted when a profile was
opened. Nothing turns people off like a Kid Rock song blasting unbidden into
their headphones.

In his BusinessWeek article, Felix Gillette argues that MySpace users'
ability to tweak their profile designs was one of the site's "first
breakthroughs." The developers had accidentally allowed users to insert HTML
into their profiles, "allowing them to play around with the background colors
and personalize their pages, leading to the site's kaleidoscopic,
techno-junkyard aesthetic, which became its trademark."

For the site's users at the time, this was a feature. For users who might
otherwise have signed up, it was a bug. MySpace has almost willfully discouraged
older people, smarter people, and more mainstream people from joining. Facebook,
meanwhile, has kept tight control over its design, which has remained free of
blinking graphics and gaudy color schemes. Your elderly aunt could join it if
she wanted to. And as time went on, she did.

Facebook's vanilla presentation has helped it transcend questions of
"cool." For most people, it's now considered neither cool nor uncool – it's just
sort of there. It's almost a utility, like an email account. Unlike with the old
MySpace, joining Facebook isn't about making a statement about your social
identity. Nobody thinks of themselves as a "Facebooker" the way some people once
thought of themselves as "MySpacers." That's why hipsters and their moms can be
Facebook friends with each other and nobody thinks it's strange. It's why you
can be Facebook friends with your boss, and why you readily accept friend
requests from old high school friends with whom you have little in common.

And that's why, as Facebook grows toward a billion users worldwide,
MySpace is losing millions of users every month and is now reported to be
planning layoffs of perhaps up to 300 of the 400 workers it has left after it
let go 500 people in January. All that's left is a clunky networking
infrastructure, a rapidly dwindling (and not very demographically desirable)
member roster, and a source of still-considerable, if not very lucrative, Web

Of course, there are many reasons for MySpace's fall. It started as part
of a company, Intermix, that had the stink of sleaze about it. But the owners at
the time refused to spin MySpace off before Eliot Spitzer, then New York's
attorney general, began investigating Intermix, and the site was sold to News
Corp. at a discount. For a site that relies on cool, nothing could be worse than
ownership by Rupert Murdoch.

Unlike Facebook, MySpace also never thought to interweave itself with the
rest of the Web, allowing users to easily port outside material into their
profiles, and to use their accounts to, for example, comment on outside Web
pages. MySpace's corporate owners were forced to hit quarterly revenue targets,
which stifled innovation, but they never thought to seek revenue through outside
brands as Facebook has.

But even with all those stumbles, MySpace could possibly have endured if
only it had simply made itself accessible to people from all walks of life. And
now News Corp. is hurriedly trying to sell the thing off for as little as $20
million, or less than 4 percent of what it paid in 2005. And Facebook? It's
valued at $70 billion - or 3,500 times what MySpace is apparently