Facebook dethrones MySpace as social network

MySpace announces Mashup with Facebook, letting users port their information

While the battle may have been won some time ago, MySpace seems to be calling "uncle" in its competition with Facebook.

On Thursday, MySpace unveiled what the company is calling a "Mashup with Facebook." The mashup basically is a connection across the two sites that will enable users to port their likes and interests from their Facebook profiles and have that information populate the content on their MySpace pages. The feature is billed as allowing MySpace users to create a personalized stream of entertainment content.

The new feature begins rolling out worldwide today.

With these steps, MySpace is giving up on being a social network. While MySpace was an Internet pioneer, it was eclipsed by Facebook .

In mid-2009, online researcher ComScore reported that then-five-year-old Facebook attracted 70.278 million unique visitors in the U.S., just ahead of MySpace's total of 70.237 million. In April, MySpace had nearly 71 million unique visitors compared with Facebook's 67.481 million.

At the same time, Facebook had more than 307 million unique visitors worldwide, while MySpace attracted less than half of that total -- 123 million.

Facebook, the new kid on the block, had eclipsed MySpace both in the U.S. and globally.

And the space between them has widened. Recently, Facebook announced that it has more than 500 million global users . MySpace, in turn, has focused more on being a destination for users to get information on music and movies.

Today, during the press call, Mike Jones, CEO of MySpace, did not refer to the site as a social network. Instead, he called it "one of the largest entertainment experiences on the Web."

Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research, said Thursdady's announcement is symbolic of MySpace's leaving the social networking space.

"This is a recognition of an old defeat," Gottheil said. "MySpace stopped being the place to find and connect to friends a long time ago. This is reinforcing its value as what it is, a publishing site. Facebook is not, and will not be, a publishing site. So this partnership helps define and distinguish the two, and makes it easier for users to be active members of both sites, using each on for what it does well."

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

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