MySpace is a social networking website with an interactive, user-submitted network of friends, personal profiles, blogs, groups, photos, music, and videos for teenagers and adults internationally. Its headquarters are in Beverly Hills, California, USA, where it shares an office building with its immediate owner, Fox Interactive Media; which is owned by News Corporation, which has its headquarters in New York City. In June 2006, My Space was the most popular social networking site in the United States. According to comScore, My Space was overtaken internationally by main competitor Facebook in April 2008, based on monthly unique visitors. The company employs 300 staff and does not disclose revenues or profits separately from News Corporation. The 100 millionth account was created on August 6, 2006 in the Netherlands and the site counted approximately 106 million accounts on September 8, 2006. As of mid-2006, MySpace.com attracted 230,000 new users per day.
After the 2002 launch of Friendster, several eUniverse employees with Friendster accounts saw its potential and decided to mimic the more popular features of the social networking website, in August 2003. Within 10 days, the first version of My Space was ready for launch. A complete infrastructure of finance, human resources, technical expertise, bandwidth, and server capacity was available for the site, right out of the gate, so the MySpace team wasn’t distracted with typical start-up issues. The project was overseen by Brad Greenspan (eUniverse's Founder, Chairman, CEO), who managed Chris DeWolfe (MySpace's starting CEO), Josh Berman, Tom Anderson (MySpace's starting president), and a team of programmers and resources provided by eUniverse.
The very first My Space users were eUniverse employees. The company held contests to see who could sign-up the most users. The company then used its resources to push My Space to the masses. eUniverse used its 20 million users and e-mail subscribers to quickly breathe life into MySpace, and move it to the head of the pack of social networking websites. A key architect was tech expert Toan Nguyen who helped stabilize the MySpace platform when Brad Greenspan asked him to join the team.
The origin of the My Space.com domain was a site owned by YourZ.com, Inc. It was intended to be a leading online data storage and sharing site up until 2002. By 2004, MySpace and MySpace.com, which existed as a brand associated with YourZ.com, had made the transition from a virtual storage site to a social networking site. This is the natural connection to Chris DeWolfe and a friend, who reminded him he had earlier bought the URL domain, MySpace.com, intending it to be used as a web hosting site, since both worked at one time in the virtual data storage business, which itself was a casualty of the "dot bomb" era.
Shortly after launching the site, team member Chris DeWolfe suggested that they start charging a fee for the basic My Space service. Brad Greenspan nixed the idea, believing that keeping MySpace free and open was necessary to make it a large and successful community.
Some employees of My Space including DeWolfe and Berman were later able to purchase equity in the property before My Space, and its parent company eUniverse (now renamed Intermix Media) was bought in July 2005 for US$580 million by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation (the parent company of Fox Broadcasting and other media enterprises). Of this amount, approximately US$327 million has been attributed to the value of My Space according to the financial adviser fairness opinion.
In January 2006, Fox announced plans to launch a UK version of My Space in a bid to "tap into the UK music scene" which they have since done. They also released a version in China and will possibly launch similar versions in other countries.
The corporate history of My Space as well as the status of Tom Anderson as a My Space founder has been a matter of some public dispute.
Throughout the course of 2007 and 2008, My Space has redesigned many of the features of its site in both layout and in function. One of the first functions that were redesigned was the user home page, and new features such as status updates, applications, and subscriptions, to catch up with Facebook's cutting edge feature. In 2008, the My Space homepage was redesigned into a more simplier and friendlier layout, along with more aesthetically pleasing to the eye. My Space Music was recreated in fall of 2008 along with an updated version of an My Space profile. More updates might take places in 2009 to create a completely upgraded My Space.com for the next decade.
MySpace operates solely on revenues generated by advertising as its user model possesses no paid-for features for the end user. Through its Web site and affiliated ad networks, MySpace is second only to Yahoo! in its capacity to collect data about its users and thus in its ability to use behavioral targeting to select the ads each visitor sees.
On August 8, 2006, search engine Google signed a $900 million deal to provide a Google search facility and advertising on MySpace. My Space has proven to be a windfall for many smaller companies that provide widgets or accessories to the social networking giant. Companies such as Slide.com, RockYou!, and YouTube were all launched on My Space as widgets providing additional functionality to the site. Other sites created layouts to personalize the site and made hundreds of thousands of dollars for its owners most of whom were in their late teens and early twenties.
In November 2008, MySpace announced that users who uploaded content that infringed on copyright protections from MTV and its subsidiary networks, would be redistributed with advertisements that would generate revenue for the companies.
Contents of a MySpace profile
Moods are small emoticons that are used to depict a mood the user is in. The feature was added in July 2007.
Blurbs, blogs, multimedia
Profiles contain two standard "blurbs": "About Me" and "Who I'd Like to Meet" sections. Profiles also contain an "Interests" section and a "Details" section. In the "Details" section, "Status" and "Zodiac Sign" fields will always display. However, fields in these sections will not be displayed if members do not fill them in. Profiles also contain a blog with standard fields for content, emotion, and media. My Space also supports uploading images. One of the images can be chosen to be the "default image", the image that will be seen on the profile's main page, search page, and as the image that will appear to the side of the user's name on comments, messages, etc. Flash, such as on My Space's video service, can be embedded. Blogging features have been the main part of My Space.
Below the User's Friends Space (by default) is the "comments" section, wherein the user's friends may leave comments for all viewers to read. My Space users have the option to delete any comment and/or require all comments to be approved before posting. If a user's account is deleted, every comment left on other profiles by that user will be deleted, and replaced with the comment saying "This Profile No Longer Exists."
A user can also change the general appearance of his or her page by entering CSS (in a STYLE element) into one of these fields to override the page's default style sheet using My Space editors. This is often used to tweak fonts and colors. The fact that the user-added CSS is located in the middle of the page (rather than being located in the head element) means that the page will begin to load with the default My Space layout before abruptly changing to the custom layout. A special type of modification is a DIV overlay, where the default layout is dramatically changed by hiding default text with DIV tags and large images.
There are several independent web sites offering MySpace layout design utilities which let a user select options and preview what their page will look like with them.
My Space has recently added its own "Profile Customizer" to the site, allowing users to change their profile through My Space. Using this feature bypasses the CSS loading delay issue, as the My Space default code is changed for the customized profile. The My Space profile editor also has a criticism with how the links appear on the profile.
My Space profiles for musicians in the website's My Space Music section differ from normal profiles in allowing artists to upload up to six MP3 songs. The uploader must have rights to use the songs (e.g. their own work, permission granted, etc). Unsigned musicians can use MySpace to post and sell music using SNOCAP, which has proven popular among My Space users.
Shortly after My Space was sold to Rupert Murdoch, the owner of Fox news and 20th Century Fox, in 2005 they launched their own record label, My Space Records, in an effort to discover unknown talent currently on My Space Music. Regardless of the artist already being famous or still looking for a break into the industry, aspiring artists can upload their songs onto My Space and have access to millions of people on a daily basis. Some well known singers such as Lilly Allen and Sean Kingston gained fame through My Space. The availability of music on this website continues to develop, largely driven by young talent. Over eight million artists have been discovered by MySpace and many more continue to be discovered daily.
My Space has recently redesigned its music page adding new features for all musicians. These new features include the users' ability to create playlists, resembling the functions of lastfm and other social music websites, along with the popular ProjectPlaylist that is popular on profiles. The new music features also archive songs from many popular artists, resembling the services of iTunes and Napster.
Bulletins are posts that are posted on to a "bulletin board" for everyone on a My Space user's friends list to see. Bulletins can be useful for contacting an entire friends list without resorting to messaging users individually. Some users choose to use Bulletins as a service for delivering chain messages about politics, religion, or anything else and sometimes these chain messages are considered threatening to the users, especially the ones that mention bad luck, death, or topics similar to that. They have also become the primary attack point for phishing. Bulletins are deleted after ten days.
My Space has a Groups feature which allows a group of users to share a common page and message board. Groups can be created by anybody, and the moderator of the group can choose for anyone to join, or to approve or deny requests to join.
In early 2006, My Space introduced MySpaceIM, an instant messenger that uses one's My Space account as a screen name. A MySpace user logs in to the client using the same e-mail associated with his or her My Space account. Unlike other parts of My Space, MySpaceIM is stand-alone software for Microsoft Windows. Users who use MySpaceIM get instant notification of new My Space messages, friend requests, and comments.
In early 2007, My Space introduced MySpaceTV, a service similar to the YouTube video sharing website. MySpaceTV is now in beta mode, and will probably be launched as a separate site in either 2008 or early 2009. MySpaceTV might be a standard channel that will be shown on television.
In 2008, My Space introduced an API with which users could create applications for other users to post on their profiles. The applications are similar to the Facebook applications. In May 2008, My Space had added some security options regarding interaction with photos and other media.
There are a variety of environments in which users can access My Space content on their mobile phone. American mobile phone provider Helio released a series of mobile phones in early 2006 that can utilize a service known as My Space Mobile to access and edit one's profile and communicate with, and view the profiles of, other members. Additionally, UIEvolution and My Space developed a mobile version of My Space for a wider range of carriers, including AT&T, Vodafone and Rogers Wireless.
In the month of April 2007, MySpace launched a news service called My Space News which displays news from RSS feeds that users submit. It also allows users to rank each news story by voting for it. The more votes a story gets, the higher the story moves up the page.
Full service classifieds listing offered beginning in August 2006. Has grown by 33 percent in one year since inception. MySpace Classifieds was launched right at the same time the site appeared on the internet.
Launched April 29, 2008, ksolo.myspace.com is a combination of MySpace and kSolo, which allows users to upload audio recordings of themselves singing onto their profile page. Users' friends are able to rate the performances. A video feature is not yet available, but Tom Anderson, MySpace co-founder and president, states that it is in the works.
MySpace Polls is a feature on My Space that was brought back in 2008 to enable users to post polls on their profile and share them with other users.
The minimum age to register an account on My Space is 14. Profiles with ages set from 14 to 15 years are automatically private. Users whose ages are set at 16 or over have the option to set their profile to public viewing. Accessing the full profile of, or messaging someone when their account is set to "private" (or if under sixteen) is restricted to a My Space user's direct friends.
My Space will delete fake profiles if the victim verifies their identity and points out the profile via e-mail.
Recently, My Space has been the focus of a number of news reports stating that teenagers have found ways around the restrictions set by My Space, and have been the target of online predators. Stricter methods for enforcing age admission will be enforced in the future, such as blocking a person from accessing My Space using a computers IP address. In response, My Space has given assurances to parents that the website is safe for people of all ages. Beginning in late June 2006, My Space users whose ages are set over 18 could no longer be able to add users whose ages are set from 14 to 15 years as friends unless they already know the user's full name or email address. Some third party Internet safety companies like Social Shield have launched online communities for parents concerned about their child's safety on MySpace.
In June 2006, 16-year-old American Katherine Lester flew to the Middle East, to Tel Aviv, Israel, after having tricked her parents into getting her a passport in order to be with a 20-year-old man she met through My Space. U.S. officials in Jordan persuaded the teen to turn around and go home.
In October 2006, 13-year-old Megan Meier committed suicide after being the victim of cyber-bullying instigated by the mother of a friend who had posed as a 16-year old named "Josh Evans".
In December 2006, My Space announced new measures to protect children from known sex offenders. Although precise details were not given they said that "tools" would be implemented to prevent known sex offenders from the USA creating a My Space profile.
In February 2007, a U.S. District Judge in Texas dismissed a case when a family sued MySpace for negligence, fraud, and misrepresentation; a girl in the family had been sexually assaulted by a man she met through My Space, after she had misrepresented her age as 18 when she was 13. Regarding his dismissal of the case, U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks wrote: "If anyone had a duty to protect Julie Doe, it was her parents, not MySpace."
In July 2007, the company found and deleted 29,000 profiles belonging to registered sex offenders. Anti-pedophile organization Perverted Justice has praised MySpace for its efforts to combat pedophiles using their service.
In October 2007, a study published in the Journal of Adolescence conducted by Sameer Hinduja (Florida Atlantic University) and Justin W. Patchin (University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire) concluded that most adolescents use MySpace responsibly: "When considered in its proper context, these results indicate that the problem of personal information disclosure on My Space may not be as widespread as many assume, and that the overwhelming majority of adolescents are responsibly using the website," they say.
Activist group MoveOn.org has criticized MySpace, claiming that the website practices censorship by not showing anti-media ads, removing fake profiles for high-profile media executives like Rupert Murdoch, and allegedly attempting to force users away from using third-party Flash applications on their profiles. My Space also generated controversy for censoring YouTube videos.
Since early 2006, My Space has offered the option to access the service in different regional versions. The alternative regional versions present automated content according to locality (e.g. UK users see other UK users as "Cool New People," and UK oriented events and adverts, etc.), offer local languages other than English, or accommodate the regional differences in spelling and conventions in the English-speaking world (e.g. United States: "favorites," mm/dd/yyyy; the rest of the world: "favourites," dd/mm/yyyy).
Sites currently offered are:
* My Space Global * My Space Australia * My Space Brazil (currently in beta) * My Space Canada (in English) (currently in beta) * My Space Canada (in French) (currently in beta) * My Space China (currently in beta) * My Space Denmark * My Space France * My Space Finland * My Space Germany (currently in beta) * My Space Ireland * My Space Latin America (in Spanish) (currently in beta) * My Space India (currently in beta) * My Space Italy (currently in beta)
* My Space Japan (currently in beta) * My Space Korea (currently in beta) * My Space Mexico * My Space Netherlands * My Space New Zealand * My Space Poland (currently in beta) * My Space Portugal * My Space Russia (currently in beta) * My Space Spain * My Space Sweden * My Space Turkey (currently in beta) * My Space UK * My Space USA (in Spanish) * My Space USA (in English) (this is, in fact, identical to the "global" site)
MySpace Developer Platform
On February 5, 2008, MySpace set up a developer platform which allows developers to share their ideas and write their own MySpace applications. The opening was inaugurated with a workshop at the My Space, San Francisco offices two weeks before the official launch. The MDP is based on the Open Social API which was presented by Google in November 2007 to support social networks to develop social and interacting widgets and can be seen as an answer to Facebooks developer platform. The first public beta of the My Space Apps was released on March 5, 2008, with around 1,000 applications available.
Until June 2006, there was a concern amongst musicians, artists, and bands on My Space such as songwriter Billy Bragg owing to the fine print within the user agreement that read, "You hereby grant to My Space.com a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense through unlimited levels of sublicensees) to use, copy, modify, adapt, translate, publicly perform, publicly display, store, reproduce, transmit, and distribute such Content on and through the Services." The fine print brought particular concern as the agreement was being made with Murdoch's News Corporation. Billy Bragg brought the issue to the attention of the media during the first week of June 2006. Jeff Berman, a My Space spokesman swiftly responded by saying, "Because the legalese has caused some confusion, we are at work revising it to make it very clear that My Space is not seeking a license to do anything with an artist's work other than allow it to be shared in the manner the artist intends."
By June 27, 2006, My Space had amended the user agreement with, "My Space.com does not claim any ownership rights in the text, files, images, photos, video, sounds, musical works, works of authorship, or any other materials (collectively, 'Content') that you post to the My Space Services. After posting your Content to the My Space Services, you continue to retain all ownership rights in such Content, and you continue to have the right to use your Content in any way you choose."
Multiple schools, public libraries, and employers in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Malaysia have restricted access to My Space, seeing it as "a haven for gossip and malicious comments."
A Catholic school in New Jersey has even prohibited students from using My Space at home, an action made to protect students from online predators as claimed by the school, although experts questioned the legality of such a ban. In Autumn of 2005 Pope John XXIII Regional High School in Sparta Township, New Jersey made headlines by forbidding its students to have pages on My Space or similar websites (such as Gaia) under threat of suspension or expulsion.
Although schools, businesses, and some public libraries try to prevent the use of My Space, they are not always successful; students have been known to use web proxies and downloadable software, along with "fake browsers" in order to log in to the site.
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