MySpace co-founder, Tom Anderson, has described how he "choked" as Facebook realised his vision for the social web.
The usually silent Anderson has spoken out about MySpace’s demise as a result of Facebook’s success, only a few days after the struggling social network was off-loaded by News Corporation for a fraction of the price it bought for in 2005.
“My original vision for [MySpace] was that everything got better when it was social — so I tried to build all the super popular things used on the web (blogs, music, classifieds, events, photos) on top of MySpace’s social layer… But quickly I saw that it’s really hard to layer in social to features after the fact. At MySpace we had the luxury of having social first, and building the products on top of that layer. Then I choked and Facebook realized that vision,” he wrote on his Google+ profile.
Last week News Corporation sold MySpace to advertising agency Specific Media and Justin Timberlake for $35m, having paid $580m to co-founders Anderson and Chris DeWolfe for the formerly most popular social network in 2005.
MySpace, which started as a site on which users could share their interest in pop and rock bands, has in the last three years been eclipsed by the explosive growth of competitor Facebook.
The struggling social has been bedevilled in recent years by confusion over its strategy and, according to analysts, failed to innovate at the pace required. Its user numbers peaked at 73.6 million in October 2008 and has since shrunk to 35 million according to the latest figures from ComScore, which tracks the market. Facebook on the other hand, is understood to have 600 million registered users.
It was a busy time in the world of social networks last week as Google launched its own Facebook rival – Google+.
Anderson praised the new social product, despite saying it seemed “like a reaction to Twitter/Facebook”.
“Google already has top-notch products in key categories-photos, videos, office productivity, blogs, Chrome, Android, maps and search. Can you start to see/imagine what Google+ does for Gmail? Picasa? YouTube? Not to mention search? The +1 system that Google now has control of (unlike Facebook Likes) can really influence and change the nature of their search,” he wrote.
Google+ is still in beta and available to only a small number of invited people.