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MySpace Lays Off 47% of Employees 206

Posted by timothy
from the well-of-their-own-employees dept.
tgtanman writes "CNN reports that MySpace has announced that it has laid off 500 employees, 47% of its total staff. From the article: 'MySpace's management kept most of the site's developers but gutted nearly every other job role, according to a staffer who survived the cuts ... "Today's tough but necessary changes were taken in order to provide the company with a clear path for sustained growth and profitability," CEO Mike Jones said in a written statement. "These changes were purely driven by issues related to our legacy business, and in no way reflect the performance of the new product."'"
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MySpace Lays Off 47% of Employees

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  • Wait (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SilverHatHacker (1381259) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @08:54PM (#34842766)
    MySpace still had 500 employees?
  • Developers (Score:5, Funny)

    by MrEricSir (398214) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @08:56PM (#34842788) Homepage

    MySpace has developers? What do they do?!

    • Re:Developers (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Daniel Phillips (238627) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @09:04PM (#34842892)

      MySpace has developers? What do they do?!

      Same as they did before they went there from Yahoo.

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @09:12PM (#34842972) Journal
      Insensitive clod. Do you know how many patches we send upstream to the browser vendors to help them build rendering engines that can handle 25,000+ animated .gifs and 100+ flash embeds in a single page?

      Never mind the time that we had to spend three weeks groveling through the dark underbelly of the Windows driver model, trying to figure out why users of certain realtek audio chipsets would suffer bluescreens when more than 14 streams of generic crunk rap were being fed to the software audio mixer simultaneously...
    • by jamesh (87723) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @09:21PM (#34843076)

      MySpace has developers? What do they do?!

      Spend all day keeping their facebook statuses up to date.

    • by denzacar (181829) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @09:33PM (#34843186) Journal

      It is a little know fact that MySpace got its name from a typing error.

      It was supposed to be called Mice Pace - based on their innovative approach of running millions of mice over millions of keyboards in order to create a sample of "perfect code".
      It was a variation of the idea with monkeys and typewriters - mice were cheaper to get and easier to scale up.

      The result is the site we all know as MySpace. They could never get the Complete Works of Shakespeare out of the mice either.
      But they did get half a Justin Bieber song once. Thousands of mice had to be put to death after that.

    • Apply for jobs at Facebook.
    • by Kvasio (127200)

      seek jobs

    • Evidently, their job is to make the site so unusable as to give the upper management the reasons they need to fire 500 employees. Seriously, does any one really use Myspace anymore? The only time I go over there is to play Mobsters. I've even de-friended everyone except the four people, two of which I can't get on Facebook.

    • by rtb61 (674572)

      How about what does the CEO do, Mike Jones has 47% less people to manage, I wonder if they cut his salary by 47% for obviously being a failure.

      This is not the only internet site that Newscorp bought and screwed up by strangling the chicken. Greed, desire to control users, need to force feed Newscorp propaganda and their attitude to truth versus lies 'meh' which is more profitable, means when it comes to the internet Newscorp will continue to fuck up (the truth always comes out and bites them on the arse)

  • MySpace? (Score:5, Funny)

    by bradgoodman (964302) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @08:57PM (#34842800) Homepage
    They're still around?! I thought I recognised "Tom" squeegying my windows at a red light the other day...
  • New product? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Shimmer (3036) <brianberns@gmail.com> on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @09:00PM (#34842828) Homepage Journal

    What "new product"? MySpace is MySpace, isn't it? What else do they do? (Can't bear to RTFA and find out.)

  • by TheRedDuke (1734262) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @09:03PM (#34842886)
    ...I bet most of those ex-employees will be complaining about it on Facebook this evening.
  • by rsborg (111459) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @09:11PM (#34842962) Homepage

    From the article: 'MySpace's management kept most of the site's developers but gutted nearly every other job role, according to a staffer who survived the cuts

    Translation: They're up for sale, and devs are part of the more valuable "human capital". I wonder who would be buying?

    • by PCM2 (4486) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @10:06PM (#34843432) Homepage

      Translation: They're up for sale, and devs are part of the more valuable "human capital". I wonder who would be buying?

      That doesn't make sense. If you're trying to sell, you don't fire the employees first yourself -- what would be the point? Once you're out, you don't care how many employees the company has. Instead, you invite possible buyers to the office and make sure every single body is at a desk, working away like a busy little beaver on countless amazing things, making the company look like an incredible value and pushing the bidding price up. Then the investor walks away thinking, "Wow, they sure do great stuff there -- but they seem to have too many employees. If we buy the company, we can fire half of them and we'll end up with a real bargain!"

      • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @11:54PM (#34844212)

        That doesn't make sense. If you're trying to sell, you don't fire the employees first yourself -- what would be the point?

        Because it fudges the profit numbers. Firing people doesn't hurt the revenue stream until a few quarters or even years down the road. But it significantly reduces costs which can provide a temporary bump in profitability. Buyout candidates have been doing this for longer than I've been alive and for some reason it still seems to fool potential buyers.

        • by PCM2 (4486)

          So you're saying maybe there's no buyer on deck today, but NewsCorp sees a time (next year? the year after?) when it no longer wants to sink money into a failed experiment. Could be.

        • by IICV (652597)

          Buyout candidates have been doing this for longer than I've been alive and for some reason it still seems to fool potential buyers.

          Because of what the grandparent poster was referring to -

          Translation: They're up for sale, and devs are part of the more valuable "human capital". I wonder who would be buying?

          By laying off half their workforce, MySpace is saying "Look - the people who are still here? They're dedicated and awesome developers. They're dedicated, because otherwise they would have left already; the

    • Sounds familiar. A friend of mine was kept on with a company as one of only three engineers when the company was sold. Apparently a plantation is more valuable if you throw in a few slaves to work it.
  • by The Yuckinator (898499) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @09:12PM (#34842974)

    There is a "Connect with Facebook" button on the front page of myspace.com

    It blew my mind

    • by PCM2 (4486)

      There is a "Connect with Facebook" button on the front page of myspace.com It blew my mind

      Of course. If you were running a social media company, given all the press Facebook gets on a daily basis, would you want partners and investors thinking your company is a direct competitor to Facebook? This is part of MySpace's new messaging, that it offers something unique and complementary to the other social networks.

    • Even better, under the random sampling of posts being made in real time was this winner: "Omggg I hate this facebook is way better!"
      It is kinda funny that you can now use Facebook Connect to sign onto Myspace.
  • by Voline (207517) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @09:13PM (#34842992)
    NewsCorp bought MySpace [bbc.co.uk] for $580 million five years ago. Good going Murdoch. I hope the rest of your investments do as well.
    • by al0ha (1262684) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @09:23PM (#34843092) Journal
      Yeah, he's a *real* business genius isn't he? This is what cracks me up about really rich people and their view of those who have not done as well in life. According to people like Murdoch, it is because they have worked harder than all of us and are much more savvy; but the truth is it is because good fortune (luck) has graced them in life. I'm not sure of how many potential *Murdochs* there are out there, but I am sure there are hundreds, just like all the talented people unveiled by shows like American Idol who to that point had not made it, only because they had not gotten lucky yet.

      Nobody makes it big without a substantial helping of good luck. Not lotto winners, World Series of Poker winners, nor people like Murdoch and Trump.
      • by c6gunner (950153)

        Nobody makes it big without a substantial helping of good luck.

        Since luck has no physical property or defined quantity, that phrase is largely meaningless. It would be equally accurate to say that nobody makes it big without a substantial helping of ether.

        The one thing we do know is that a large percentage of those who "make it big" through no effort of their own end up making it small again, with an equal amount of effort. Keeping your money is just as hard as making it, if not more so.

        • by icebraining (1313345) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @11:49PM (#34844188) Homepage

          Since luck has no physical property or defined quantity, that phrase is largely meaningless.

          No, it's not. Luck is probabilities. The phrase means that making it big depends on variables outside of the person's control, and that effort doesn't correlate well with success. Whether it's true or not, I can't say.

        • by fwarren (579763)

          I can sell you some "ether" to help you make millions. I have bottle of it riiiiight here...

      • I was taking a tour of a famous estate turned museum over Christmas. The tour guide was trying to be as sympathetic to the estate trust as possible by commenting on how 'well she managed' her trust fund -- increasing by over 4x over the last 85 years.

        I immediately did a little calculation in my head and figured out that this brilliant, successful trust fund heiress... had lost a significant portion of her trust if it only increased by 4x over 85 years. When I got home I ran it through an inflation calcul

        • by timeOday (582209)
          Perhaps the tour-guide's figures were already inflation-adjusted?

          Anyways, it really didn't take a brain to rake in investment money in postwar America, whether by stocks, real estate, or even simply buying a home. The economy and population were mushrooming, so those who started with anything found it multiplied over and over. Now a lot of that unearned income is being repaid by people upside-down on their mortgages, the govt. bank bailouts, etc.

        • Well, but it is a trust fund, not an investment fund. I.e. a large percentage of the investment revenues will actually go towards funding the museum and other activities. So they do all that, and STILL grow. That is not bad at all.

      • by mattack2 (1165421)

        Nobody makes it big without a substantial helping of good luck. Not lotto winners, World Series of Poker winners, nor people like Murdoch and Trump.

        WSOP winners, definitely. The consistently winning poker players freely admit that there is luck in any individual tournament -- that's what brings out the fish. The ones that can keep winning, better than chance, over a long period of time are the ones who show that they have skill, and are not simply winning due to luck. (Yes, there is a possibility it's "a

        • by hairyfeet (841228)

          I'd say you don't hear about them because many are addicts and like all addicts they eventually crash and burn. I remember reading an article in the 90s about one of the recent at the time WSOP winners and old man Binion said "Yeah that kid would be an all time champ...if you could get the guy to ONLY play poker". It went on to talk about how in between poker games he would bet on ANYTHING..football, baseball, golf, if he couldn't find any other "action" he would actually bet thousands on which side of a su

        • by drsquare (530038)

          The difference with poker is that everyone starts a tournament with the same stack of chips. Over enough time it's totally egalitarian. You can't say the same of business, whereby some people start with nothing and others start with billions, in a world where business success is 99% funding.

        • The ones that can keep winning, better than chance, over a long period of time are the ones who show that they have skill, and are not simply winning due to luck. (Yes, there is a possibility it's "all luck", but that decreases the longer a person wins. In fact, the Two Plus Two Pokercast was mentioning a couple of people that were big names a few years ago, but you no longer hear about them.)

          In a large enough sample there are going to be people who are going to seemingly win an inordinate number of times. You are just not considering the thousands of losers who are invisible [wikipedia.org]. Read "Fooled by randomness [wikipedia.org]" it explains it better than I could.

      • Do those sour grapes taste good?

      • by IICV (652597) on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @04:46AM (#34845744)

        According to people like Murdoch, it is because they have worked harder than all of us and are much more savvy; but the truth is it is because good fortune (luck) has graced them in life. I'm not sure of how many potential *Murdochs* there are out there, but I am sure there are hundreds, just like all the talented people unveiled by shows like American Idol who to that point had not made it, only because they had not gotten lucky yet.

        Hundreds? If Rupert Murdoch is one in a million, there's seven thousand people who are just as capable of achievement as he was out there. It just turns out that most of those potential new Rupert Murdochs aren't going to get the opportunities he had - not everyone can be the son of Keith Murdoch, the owner of an already successful newspaper empire.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        You also have to be an unscrupulous fucker in order to get where he is. It's not enough to see the opportunity, you have to be willing to step on people as you walk up the steps.

      • by Xyrus (755017) on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @11:34AM (#34848650) Journal

        Current most likely way to become rich: Lucky sperm.

        Hard work won't make you rich. Only the naive believe that.

        That's not to say hard work is pointless. Hard work will still (usually) give you a comfortable life. But hard work alone won't ever make you rich. It just doesn't work that way. I can tell you for a fact that a single mom working three jobs to support her kids is working harder than most CEOs in this country, but she isn't going to get rich doing it.

        You need to know People, and have a lot of luck. Even if you are the first with the Next Big Thing(tm), it may languish in obscurity for years or decades without the right resources and connections.

        But if the luck thing isn't working out then try being an asshole. That really seems to move people up the corporate ladder...or gets them elected to congress.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @09:26PM (#34843120)

      Good going Murdoch. I hope the rest of your investments do as well

      According to Reuters [reuters.com] he did did pretty well:

      Initially, the deal paid for itself after Google Inc inked a three-year $900 million search advertising deal in 2006.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Yeah, this is something a lot of young tech geeks don't realize. Companies come, they make a profit and then either innovate and develop new products and make more profit, or die. That's how a free market works.

        MySpace launched their service, made profit, didn't innovate and died within a few years time. And that's all right. Google is lasting a lot longer because they keep innovating. Facebook? Well, we'll see what happens. It ultimately depends on their ability to innovate.

      • It seems they might not have gotten the full 900 mil. See

        http://www.dailyfinance.com/story/media/myspace-in-trouble-on-900-million-google-deal/19224196/ [dailyfinance.com]

        Also one has to wonder how much it cost to run myspace all these years. I don't think we will ever know for sure whether Murdoch made or lost money with Myspace. The myspace finances were not separated out in the statements. In the 2010 statement the group in which myspace belonged (named appropriately as "other") suffered around a $500 million loss. However

    • by Kjella (173770)

      NewsCorp bought MySpace for $580 million five years ago. Good going Murdoch. I hope the rest of your investments do as well.

      Well, consider that people are now throwing around a 50 billion valuation of Facebook the question is really "Did Myspace have a 1% chance of becoming Facebook instead of Facebook?" I would say yes. They could have had a 90% chance of failing and it would still be a good investment because the expected value would be $50 bn * 10% = $5 bn. It's like a lottery ticket with no winnings, it's worthless now but it wasn't worthless before the drawing.

  • I loved Imeem and then MySpace bought them out. So, maybe somebody else who can afford Imeem should buy them up and allow them to go back to their business they had and possibly make amazing music plug-ins for their walled garden *cough*Facebook*couch*
  • I guess he still has a glimmer of pride left after all.

    I am sure he is laughing at this post... all the way to the bank.

  • by Kaz Kylheku (1484) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @09:42PM (#34843250) Homepage

    How exactly does MySpace make money?

    Does it really have a path to profitabillity?

    • by istartedi (132515)

      Whoah! If you're the real Kaz, long time no C. :)

      I don't know if they have a path to profitability; but cutting unnecessary staff can't hurt.

      When I hit their page, I saw a number of ads were blocked, so that answers the revenue question. Individual pages also seem to have a link-bar at the top, which appears to link to promoted content. Eminem is listed as their "top artist". Really??? Even that seems dated.

      As to whether or not they datamine their userbase and sell that info... I don't know.

      • by Thing 1 (178996)
        LOL I remember seeing a (now-dead) famous piano player (forget the name, I was just a kid, my dad was interested) in concert, he mixed humor into his piano playing. I remember him playing one song that "dances around middle C" without actually hitting it, and he commented towards the end, "long time no C" -- so, thanks for wording it that way, and triggering the memory!
      • Eminem is listed as their "top artist". Really??? Even that seems dated.

        Uh, Eminem's new album was the biggest seller in 2010 in the US (3.4 million copies, 741,000 of which in the first week).

    • How does any social networking site get money? Through ads and data mining.
  • by rudy_wayne (414635) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @10:21PM (#34843532)

    it has laid off 500 employees, 47% of its total staff.

    Which means it had 1064 employees before the layoff. What in the world could they possible need more than a thousand people for? And why are now able to run with only half that many?
    If you can't run MySpace with 100 people -- and that's being generous -- there's something seriously wrong. This is another case of "Somebody (in this case Rupert Murdoch) gave us a lot of money, so we can afford to hire a shit load of people regardless of whether or not we actually need them.

    • by MogNuts (97512) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @10:38PM (#34843654)

      When I first saw it, I remember thinking that it *only* has 1000 employees? I find that pretty amazing to have so *little* employees.

      Think about it. It at one time (only 2-3 years ago) was one of the most popular, most trafficked sites around. All those those data centers, servers, coding (yes it was awful but code doesn't create itself), arrangements with bands and music licenses. Hell its bread and butter was to need data mining analysts and advertising campaign analysts. They should have a department of 100 each!

      • When I first saw it, I remember thinking that it *only* has 1000 employees? I find that pretty amazing to have so *little* employees.

        Think about it. It at one time (only 2-3 years ago) was one of the most popular, most trafficked sites around. All those those data centers, servers, coding (yes it was awful but code doesn't create itself), arrangements with bands and music licenses. Hell its bread and butter was to need data mining analysts and advertising campaign analysts. They should have a department of 100 each!

        I'm not aware of MySpace ever owning any data centers. They almost certainly paid someone else to handle that and had a few employees monitoring things. And it certainly doesn't take a thousand people to code a shitty site and make a few deals with bands and mine data and create marketing campaigns. Unless of course somebody gave you a butt load of money and you aren't the least bit concerned with how you spend it. We see how well THAT worked out.

        • by MogNuts (97512)

          Hah I agree with u there. I don't think I'm ever seen a worsely coded, malfunctioning site *ever.* And I've been using the internet since Mosaic.

          Though speaking personally, believe it or not, just to run internet marketing and advertising campaigns (which in essence is how Myspace makes money; forget the entire other division which provides a social network), it requires a lot more than u think. You need the SQL guys to run in conjunction with the reporting software guys to run in conjunction with the marke

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Having worked at a company which did pretty successful dynamic websites for music acts, all more complex than MySpace, I can tell you that you need maybe a half dozen people to write the code, if they are worth a shit, and MySpace is the kind of organization that gets to reuse code for site after site. You need a couple to a couple dozen account managers to sell your crap. You need a couple of HR people, and two or three execs to talk to other execs, because no one else can handle the tedium and frustration

    • What in the world could they possible need more than a thousand people for?

      One to hold the lightbulb and 1063 to turn the chair around?

    • by dachshund (300733)

      And why are now able to run with only half that many?

      Who says they are? In my experience, when a firm lays off half of their employees, the other half aren't far behind.

    • by Andy Dodd (701)

      Probably a lot of them were "customer service" - Handling offensive content complaints, etc.

      Likely minimum wage sort of stuff. Potentially a lot of them were part-timers.

  • by rueger (210566) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @11:15PM (#34843968) Homepage
    Am I alone in thinking that MySpace was Geocities [wonder-tonic.com] for the new millennium?
  • It seems like there is a lot of hate for Facebook on Slashdot. I wonder whether MySpace gained anything from it.

  • The fate of any online service who's sole purpose seems to be to flood their users with spam and marketing gimmicks. Twitter take notice.
  • I feel sorry for the employees but the worse his investment becomes the happier I am.

  • It was posted on Facebook...
  • Truer more descriptive words never spoken.

    I know my first reaction is MySpace is still hanging around? They had more than 1000 people working for them still? They still have 500 people doing something at MySpace?

    In other news MySpace lost half their user base... :)

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