MySpace ages away from its social networking heritage

Last Month, Betanews' Scott Fulton asked "What will become of MySpace after a 30% headcount reduction?" None other than the highest man in the MySpace architecture, parent company News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch, answered that question this week.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal yesterday, Murdoch said the fading social network will need to refocus itself as an entertainment portal.

It's not a surprising response from the executive, as the site has regularly tried to shift the emphasis off of its social network and make itself more of a portal. In 2008, MySpace Music debuted as an improved way for the multitude of bands and musicians on MySpace to connect with fans and sell their music through Amazon and ringtones through Jamster, the MySpace Impact Channel premiered as a news portal for the young adult sector, linking to MSNBC content among others. In mid-2007, Myspace launched its own social news aggregation site like Digg and Yahoo Buzz. The site's recent past has been peppered with portal-esque ventures.

While not a total shock, it is an unusual goal. Portals really have not been an attractive design since the so-called "portal craze" of the dot com era. As Burst Media CEO Jarvis Coffin said yesterday, "Mr. Murdoch's comments stopped me because I haven't seen anyone reportedly aspire to build a portal in years."

But the portal is, after all, a state that a lot of good services have entered to retire. After six years, MySpace been overtaken by Facebook in unique visits, it's laid off a huge number of its staff, replaced its chief executive, tweaked its name, and dropped its "A place for friends" slogan.

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