Integrating Social Media : For the moment Facebook dominates social media usage but Google+ may present a greater challenge than many are prepared to accept. Social media sites do not last for ever. Friendster, MySpace and Bebo attest.
Friendster was founded in 2002 before the creation and launch of MySpace (2003) and Facebook (2004). Friendster was one of the first social networking sites to attain over 1 million members. Friendster.com went live in 2002 and was quickly adopted by three million users within the first few months. In 2008 Friendster had a membership base of more than 115 million registered users. Since 2009, the site has suffered a dramatic decline in traffic.
In August 2003, some eUniverse employees with Friendster accounts saw potential in its social networking features. The group decided to replicate the more popular features of the website.By September, the first version of Myspace was ready for launch.
The MySpace.com domain was launched as a social networking site in 2004. In July 2005, News Corporation purchased Myspace for $580 million. The 100 millionth account was created on August 2006.
By late 2007 to 2008, Myspace was considered the leading social networking site, and consistently beat main competitor Facebook in traffic. Initially, the emergence of Facebook did little to diminish Myspace’s popularity. Facebook was targeted at college students initially. At its peak, when News Corp attempted to merge it with Yahoo in 2007, Myspace was valued at $12 billion.
In April, 2008, Facebook overtook Myspace in the Alexa rankings. Since then, Myspace has seen a continuing loss of membership.
In March 2011, market research figures released by comScore suggested that Myspace had lost 10 million users between January and February 2011 and that it had fallen from 95 million to 63 million unique users during the previous twelve months. Myspace registered its sharpest audience declines in the month of February 2011, as traffic fell 44% from a year earlier to 37.7 million unique U.S. visitors.
In late February 2011, News Corp officially put the site up for sale, which was estimated to be worth $50–200 million. On June 29, 2011, Myspace announced it had been acquired by Specific Media for an undisclosed sum. CNN reported that Myspace sold for $35 million, noting that it was “far less than the $580 million News Corp. paid for Myspace in 2005.” Rupert Murdoch went on to call the Myspace purchase a “huge mistake.”
Bebo is / was a social networking website launched in July 2005. The website name was bought by the founders. The backronym “Blog Early, Blog Often” was invented to answer the question of what the name meant. The site was acquired by AOL on March 13, 2008 for $850 million. AOL overpaid for Bebo, as advertising suffered a downturn due to the financial crisis. AOL was unwilling to invest and continue developing Bebo so that it could remain competitive with Facebook. In April 2010, AOL announced it was planning to sell or shut down Bebo, with the sale being completed in June of that year to Criterion Capital Partners for an undisclosed sum, reportedly under $10 million.
Flickr is an image and video hosting web site created by Ludicorp in 2004 and acquired by Yahoo in 2005. Yahoo reported in June 2011 that Flickr had a total of 51 million registered members and 80 million unique visitors. In August 2011 the site reported that it was hosting more than 6 billion images. Flickr may have peaked in 2009 but data from 2010 suggests high usage and stability.
Social Media Sites do not last forever and millions of users gained in a short space of time can be lost equally quickly. The latest user satisfaction statistics suggest Google+ is winning hearts and minds with a 78 user satisfaction score compared to 61 for Facebook, 63 for LinkedIn, 64 Twitter and 69 Pinterest. The changing faces of Facebook may be unsettling the traditional user base