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Spare a Thought for Myspace

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Despite the fact that he starred in the Social Network, one person who won't be celebrating Facebook day is singer Justin Timberlake, who still owns Myspace alongside Specific Media following the $35 million purchase in June of last year.

So what will Timberlake be doing today? Well, in the fall of last year he told MTV news "I don't have anything on my plate other than think-tanking a lot of different ideas for MySpace." And the fruit of those think-tanking sessions thus far? Zero, zilch, nada. Hardly a Facebook hack-a-thon, is it?

The silence from Myspace since Timberlake and Specific graciously took it off News Corp's (NASDAQ: NWSA) hands has been deafening. There has been no news of new features, no big press conferences, no nothing. Meanwhile, at the time of writing, Zuckerberg is making American business history as his company becomes the biggest IPO in history.

On Thursday, Richard Saintvilus of TheStreet wrote a story called "Google could 'Myspace' Facebook", implying that the word "Myspace" is now synonymous with business failure or, specifically, social network failure. That's what Myspace is now, it is the mark that similar companies don't want to make. It's the anti-target.

It is also telling that, also on Thursday, it was reported that Myspace had settled charges that it had been improperly sharing user information with advertisers, and nobody batted an eyelid. The Federal Trade Commission charged that Myspace was not honoring its own privacy policy, but nobody cares because, to be honest, barely anyone is on there anymore.

Whether or not it was a result of Timberlake's think-tank sessions to provide advertisers with user's "friend ID" which could then be matched with the profiles containing all of the pertinent information, we don't know. We do know that, as part of the settlement, Myspace won't pay a monetary penalty. It must now implement and maintain a comprehensive privacy program and provide periodic independent privacy assessments for 20 years.

20 years? Surely the FTC is being incredibly optimistic that there will be a company to assess at all in 20 years.

So let's all spare a thought for Timberlake and Myspace today. While the crowds gather and cheer as Zuckerberg and his gang wave and smile, the Myspace guys are drawing up a privacy plan and hoping for inspiration pointing towards success. Maybe making music is the better option, Justin. Then again…

Follow me @BCallwood.

Posted-In: MySpaceNews Management IPOs Tech


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