Now that the New Year’s festivities are over, it’s probably worthwhile to look back at the results of 2010 and see where we’re headed in 2011. And there’s plenty to look back on. New players like Zynga and Groupon started making it into the headlines. New products like the iPhone redefined their niche, or in the case of the iPad, created a whole new niche.
But the real news was Facebook. Not only was Mark Zuckerberg named man of the year, beating out even Julian Assange, Lady Gaga, and the guy from Turkey. His company, now valued at $50 billion after raising another $500 million from American Goldman Sachs and Russian Digital Sky, actually toppled Google from its perch as the most viewed website of the year. (It toppled Yahoo mail from its second-place spot as well, but that’s a no-brainer.)
Google may still be the bigger company (metaphorically as well as financially), but if it is to maintain its web hegemony, it may have to enter the social networking fray. One suggestion is that it take over Myspace.
Just five years ago, News Corps’s Myspace was king of social networking. In 2009 ad spending on the site reached $470 million. Then came 2010. While it may have been a good year for New Corps’s other venture, Fox News, Myspace lost most of its momentum, with ad spending at just $347 million—and there wasn’t even a boycott, like some of News Corps’s other products. Even Apple is now in on the boycott, and they are Google’s other big rival.
Then there’s the fact that Google is an investor in Myspace—or at least it was in 2006, when it poured $900 million into the company. Myspace needs Google to survive, but as Facebook explodes on the web, the Google-Myspace relationship could become symbiotic. And Murdoch may be happy to dump his money-losing investment.
Of course, there may be other players in the works, like the upstart game-maker Zynga. Right now it needs Facebook to place its products, but it has made no secret of the fact that it would be happy with a platform of its own. Then there are the independent investors, who may see Myspace as a quick way to make a buck.
Myspace is already rumored to be ready to lay off half of its workforce as a cost-saving measure. That means that 550 employees, based in the U.S., could soon get the axe. The entire staff was given the month of December off already, which means that when they get back to work today, they could find some bad news in their inbox.
Yet just last month, Google inked a new ad deal with Myspace. Could that mean that Google is eying the site? It could, but there is one possible stumbling block. In November, reached an agreement with Facebook to integrate Facebook Connect. Does Google want to buy a site so intimately connected with its up and coming rival Facebook?
An internet cold war is brewing up ahead in 2011.
Read More at NBC Bay Area.