Struggling MySpace slashes international staff

Social networker cuts two-thirds of international staff a week after announcing layoffs in U.S.

After struggling in its competition with rival Facebook Inc. and announcing layoffs just a week ago, social network pioneer Inc. reported today that it is slashing two-thirds of its international staff.

The company announced early this morning that it is restructuring its international operations, which entails closing four offices outside of the U.S. and cutting its international staff from 450 to 150 employees.

MySpace China, a locally owned, operated and managed company, and MySpace's joint venture in Japan will not be affected by the proposed plan, according to the company.

Today's news comes a week after the company announced it was cutting its U.S. staff by 30%. Those layoffs will leave MySpace with about 1,000 U.S. employees.

"With roughly half of MySpace's total user base coming from outside the U.S., maintaining productive and efficient operations in our international markets is important to users worldwide and our immediate financial strength," said MySpace CEO Owen Van Natta, in a statement. "As we conducted our review of the company, it was clear that internationally, just as in the U.S., MySpace's staffing had become too big and cumbersome to be sustainable in current market conditions. Today's proposed changes are designed to transform and refine our international growth strategy."

MySpace, which was at the forefront of social networking, has slipped in its stature, losing ground to Facebook, which has seen explosive growth over the past year. Facebook had outpaced MySpace internationally, and last week, online researcher ComScore Inc. reported that Facebook had become more popular than MySpace in the U.S. as well.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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