The Rise and Fall of MySpace

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Once a powerful social network, MySpace laid off 47 percent of its workforce -- about 500 people -- yesterday in what was not the company's first round of pink slips. It's been more than a year since Chase Carey, the COO of News Corp., MySpace's parent company since 2005, announced that he would consider selling the network to an outside party. But nobody has expressed any interest. Widely described as a sinking ship (read more reactions at the Atlantic Wire), MySpace news hasn't always been bad. We've pulled together the (considerable) ups and downs of the site since its launch in August 2003:

August 2003: MySpace birthed from the bowels of eUniverse as Friendster clone.

November 2003: Washington Post runs a story about social networking sites already asking, "Where is the money?"

February 2004: TheFacebook.com launches at Harvard. For the first time ever, poking becomes widespread on the Ivy League campus.

June 2004: MySpace breaks one million unique visitors per month.

October 2004: REM posts album to MySpace, emulating thousands of smaller-name musicians who flocked to the site.

December 2004: San Francisco Chronicle: "Users of MySpace could visit a profile of pop singer Hilary Duff and download three of her songs for free from a page surrounded by a marketing pitch for Secret Sparkle deodorant."

January 2005: MySpace hits a phase of exponential growth, gaining millions and millions of members in the first half of the year.

July 2005: News Corp buys MySpace for $580 million. It claims 22 million members.

September 2005: The site's growth continues: 27 million members.

August 2006: Google signs $900-million, three-year deal to become the exclusive provider of ad sales for the site.

October 2006: Teen girl commits suicide after a friend's mom cyberbullies her.

November 2006: Rupert Murdoch announces that he thinks MySpace could be worth as much as $6 billion and that he anticipates as many as 200 million user profiles by mid-2007.

May 2007: MySpace purchases Photobucket, a free photo-sharing service, for $250 million.

June 2008: Facebook passes MySpace in terms of users.

November 2008: Politicians think MySpace is the new hot place to set up profiles.

March 2009: COO Amit Kapur leaves the company after only a year, taking two senior vice presidents with him to launch a start-up.

April 2009: One month after Kapur's departure, CEO and co-founder Chris DeWolfe steps down from his position.

June 2009: MySpace lays off 30% of its staff, going from 1,420 employees down to 1,000. The international staff is also reduced from 450 to 150.

July 2009: Murdoch: "The business sort of grew out of control and really out of size. I blame myself and it had to be brought back in size, but we feel that we've got new creative people and it will be a very strong force in many ways and shouldn't be compared ... I mean, it will be a very different social site to, say, Facebook."

November 2009: MySpace shells out $1 million every month in rent for a space in Playa Vista that the company never moves into.

January 2011: MySpace lays off 500 employees, or almost 50% of its workforce. The New York Times reports: "Even Tila Tequila, the model and rapper who achieved fame by building an audience on MySpace, has switched allegiances. In 2006, Time magazine called her the queen of MySpace, but these days she prefers Facebook."

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Presented by

Alexis Madrigal & Nicholas Jackson

Alexis Madrigal is a senior editor at The Atlantic and lead technology writer at TheAtlantic.com. Nicholas Jackson is an associate editor at The Atlantic.

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