Why MySpace is Monetizing So Quickly: They're Dying Fast

At least that’s what Michael Wolff, author of the Rupert Murdoch biography, “The Man Who Owns The News,” suggests. In a conversation with Jon Fine of BusinessWeek, Michael Wolff expresses his disdain for MySpace and suggests that News Corp executives are shaking in their boots. The company is according to Wolff, “looking at is the distinct possibility that it can go down to nothing.”

Just like Friendster, AOL, and many other networks, Wolff believes that MySpace is a huge risk for News Corp since everybody is going to MySpace. It’s a relatively dramatic conversation and one that sounds like it was had over a few drinks. It’s also a discussion shared among those individuals that have the benefit of viewing the whole situation from an ivory tower.

While that may be the case, Jon Fine and Michael Wolff engage in a lively debate about the future of MySpace.

JF: I think there you are falling into a fairly common thing. Facebook – it’s a better experience than MySpace. But the traffic on MySpace and the people on it…

MW: All of the growth now in MySpace is international.

JF: Sure. Because once you get to 75 million in the US, where are you gonna go?

MW: I know they recognize this: “We got to monetize this thing. We got to get this thing off the books.”

JF: Your magazine or my magazine would give both ears to get to $750 million in revenue [which is, very roughly, what MySpace’s revenues are]. The funny thing about MySpace . . .

MW: What they understand, is their $25 billion to $30 billion valuation. –

JF: But that’s [expletive]. We both know that’s [expletive].

Whether or not Michael Wolff is accurate, it’s definitely an interesting perspective. MySpace has been quick to monetize the site while Facebook has been sitting back and casually breaking even, at least that’s the public image they portray. Most of the advertising monetization opportunity currently exists within the United States and Facebook is quickly catching up to MySpace domestically.

The article definitely lends credence to the anti-MySpace argument but Jon Fine appears to be a bit more level-headed in the discussion, suggesting that MySpace’s case is similar to AOL’s. While AOL is no longer what is used to be, the company still has a large presence on the web. What the value of the users within the AOL network is definitely debatable but there is no debating the company’s absolute size. It is surely not the hot company it used to be.

Do you think MySpace will die a slow death or are the naysayers completely distorting the picture?