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Facebook vs MySpace

Both were banned briefly in Dubai, and both promise to connect you to friends throughout the world. But which one wins the popularity vote?

A quick poll round our office confirmed our suspicion. Almost everybody uses social networking site Facebook, and the few who are on its rival MySpace, say they rarely log on. As one colleague puts it, “MySpace is so last season.”

But elsewhere across the world, thousands of people are opening new accounts on the site everyday. Reuters has just reported that Kirk Douglas has become the oldest celebrity blogger on MySpace, and the 92-year-old, who has more than 4,000 friends, says he enjoys blogging on the site.

“I take it seriously. Otherwise I wouldn’t do it [….] I don’t have to do it, I don’t make money. It’s something that gives me personal satisfaction,” he says.

Both MySpace and Facebook allow you to find old friends, make new ones, create or join different groups, and watch videos. While Facebook offers several “applications,” such as vampire wars, games, fluffy friends and Superpoke among others. MySpace meanwhile, promotes upcoming music artists; they can add friends, stream singles and sell music through the site.

In November 2008, MySpace also announced that users who uploaded content that infringed on copyright protections from MTV, would be redistributed with advertisements that would generate revenue for the companies.

The numbers
MySpace launched on January 1, 2004 by eUniverse (now renamed Intermix Media). It was acquired by Rupert Murdoch-owned News Corp under its interactive business unit Fox Interactive Media in 2005. The deal was worth $580 million, and approximately $327 million has been attributed to the value of MySpace.

Facebook came into existence at around the same time. On February 4th, 2004 Mark Zuckerberg launched The Facebook, a social network that was at the time exclusively for Harvard students. It was a huge hit, and within four months, Facebook added 30 more college networks.

The first investor into the site was Peter Thiel, cofounder of PayPal and managing partner of The Founders Fund, who pumped in $500,000 into Facebook. Friendster attempted to acquire the company for $10 million in mid 2004, but Facebook turned down the offer. Facebook continued to receive more investments and finally opened to anyone with an email address in 2006. Yahoo and Viacom also attempted to buy the company, but their offers were turned down.

In 2006, Google announced that it would provide search and advertising on and other websites owned by News Corporation’s Fox Interactive Media. Google agreed to pay Fox at least $900 million, provided certain web traffic targets are met.

Almost in response, in 2007, Microsoft invested $240 million into Facebook and acquired 1.6 percent of the company, valuing at over $15 billion.

In the last year, MySpace has grown about 10 percent in the US, adding 7.5 million monthly unique users to a total of 76.4 million. Non-US users have grown from 45 million to 54 million, a 17 percent increase, says Comscore. It is expected to get roughly $750 million in revenue this year.

While Facebook’s estimated 2008 revenues are much lesser at nearly $300 million, (recently, its CFO was reported to be in Dubai, asking for funds) and although its users in the US are lesser, (MySpace has 30 million more US users), the networking site is rapidly becoming a global phenomenon; in fact Facebook has actually become a verb.

MySpace’s popularity ride, however, seems to be tilting downward. Michael Wolff, the author of the new Rupert Murdoch biography “The Man Who Owns The News” recently told Business Week, “ I think it is–if you’re on MySpace now, you’re a [expletive] cretin. And you’re not only a [expletive] cretin, but you’re poor. Nobody who has beyond an 8th grade level of education is on MySpace. It is for backwards people.”


Though UAE (through Etisalat) tried to ban both the websites, it was Facebook that managed to generate a lot of support. Petitions (The ‘Don’t Ban Facebook’ petition has 893 signatures) and media discussions followed, before the site was back on track.

In fact, Facebook is also becoming a more popular protest site; one group rallied against the closure of the Hard Rock Café, and the ‘Set the Whale Shark Free from the Atlantis Aquarium Dubai’ group now has more than 17,500 members (yes, it’s Sammy).

While MySpace also has its share of forums discussing Dubai it hasn’t managed to gather the masses in the way that Facebook has been.

So, where do you log on?


1 Comment

  1. Rihan on December 17, 2008 12:09 pm

    FACE BOOK is user friendly


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