After News Corp. threatened to sue his publisher if they published his expos
on MySpace and its poster boy Tom Anderson (pictured), journalism student Trent Lapinski sold his story to Valleywag. Why did MySpace try to block a story that really tells us what we already knew? Who knows, but it's fun to publish it anyway and see if they sue.
By Trent Lapinski
About four months ago I was hired by an online publisher as a freelance journalist to write an article detailing the history and business model of MySpace.com (the project has previously been mentioned on this blog). After months of journalistic research and interviews I finally sought comment from News Corp. Instead of getting comments or an interview from News Corp., they began harassing my employer. Due to groundless legal implications, the article I had written was no longer to be published. However, I now own the rights to my work and after weeks of looking for support and contemplating the situation I have decided to publish the article in its entirety on Valleywag.
It is possible that News Corp. may attempt to pursue legal action against me for publishing this work, but this article has been professionally fact checked and is the truth.
The reader's digest version below breaks things down very simply and quotes sections of the upcoming article, as well as provides links to documentation proving said information.
What News Corp. doesn't want you to know about MySpace
1. MySpace is NOT a viral success. MySpace was advertised on mass levels to reach the public. MySpace was created by a company named eUniverse (who later changed their name to Intermix Media). eUniverse was a marketing and entertainment company who had over 50 million e-mail addresses in their databases, as well as over 18 million monthly web users. eUniverse leveraged their resources to proliferate and advertise MySpace.com. eUniverse went as far as telling 3 million users of their paid dating website, CupidJunction.com, to sign up for free MySpace accounts. (CupidJunction message screenshot)
2. MySpace.com is Spam 2.0. MySpace has spawned an incredibly successful twist on the age-old art of self-promotion, allowing—even encouraging—the marketing of everything from bands to businesses on their site. Essentially, they've opened up a channel through which to solicit and promote everyone and everything, most importantly the individual. The whole site is, in essence, a marketing tool that everyone who registers has access to. Users constantly receive spam-like messages from said bands, business, and individuals looking to add more "friends" (and therefore more potential fans, consumers, or witnesses) to their online identity. A testament to this strange new social paradigm is the phrase "Thanks for the Add," a nicety offered when one MySpace user adds another as a friend. Best yet, to use the site, members must log in, causing them to inadvertently view advertisements, and then read their messages on a page with even more advertisements. In the world of MySpace, Spam is earth, air, fire, and water.
3. Tom Anderson did NOT create MySpace. Most users don't know that Tom Anderson (pictured) is more of a PR scheme than anything else—the mascot designed to give a friendlier feel to a site created by a marketing company known for viral entertainment websites, pop-up advertising, spam, spyware, and adware. As MySpace's popularity grew, the MySpace team moved to create a false PR story that would best reflect the ideals and tastes of its growing demographic. They wanted to prevent the revelation that a Spam 1.0 company had launched the site, and created the impression that Tom Anderson created the site, and the lie worked. According to Anderson, the bulk of his initial contribution is as follows: "I am as anti-social as they come, and I've already got 20 people to sign up."
4. MySpace's CEO Chris DeWolfe is connected to a past of spam and shady business associates and brought those connections to eUniverse/MySpace (see full edition for details).
5. MySpace was a direct assault on Friendster.com. The major key players in the ultimate development of MySpace have Friendster accounts, and name Friendster and its founder in their original business proposal. The current CEO of MySpace, Chris DeWolfe has been a member of Friendster since June of 2003 (MySpace was not conceived until August of 2003).