Doing The Math On MySpace: Who Gets The Failing Grade?

from the something-doesn't-add-up dept

It seems like MySpace is the media darling lately, following their buyout by News Corp. Even if it’s unclear what Rupert Murdoch is going to do with the site, the media loves the idea that it’s the new MTV. So, it’s really no surprise to see Wired Magazine put out a glowing profile of the company that seems to have tossed any sense of skepticism out the window. In fact, the numbers presented in the story (without sourcing) seem extremely questionable. The article first claims that MySpace received more pageviews than Google in August. That’s a surprising statement, and probably should be backed up by a source, but there’s none. Then, it claims that MySpace actually has 12% of all ads on the web which seems extremely high — and again, has no sourcing. Of course, even if we take that at face value (which seems pretty questionable), it’s hard to square that with the very next statement (which is the only one that is sourced): “MySpace should gross $30 million to $40 million this year.” So, they have more page views than Google, a significant portion of all online advertising… and yet they’re going to make a tiny fraction of what Google makes in a single quarter? Also, by that math (assuming MySpace is really 12% of the market), doesn’t it mean that the entire online ad market is equal to somewhere between $250 and $333 million a year? Either someone’s done the math wrong or the management at MySpace deserves to be fired for their ad sales deals. Update: Jeff Howe, who wrote the article for Wired Magazine, stops by in the comments to claim that the numbers are legit and are from Nielsen. While we had no doubt he got the numbers from somewhere legit, it still seems worthwhile to question those numbers, as the math makes almost no sense. If you have 12% of all ad inventory online and you’re only making $40 million a year, something very big is very wrong. As we said, it may be with MySpace’s dealmaking ability or it could be something else — but some big explanation is clearly missing.

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Comments on “Doing The Math On MySpace: Who Gets The Failing Grade?”

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mkam (profile) says:

Re: Wired Defense

I asked Jeff to support his assertions in the article and this is his reply. I hope that he doesn’t mind his defense posted to some of the attacks on the article.
On 11/3/05, Howe,Jeff wrote:
> Thanks for your email. Both of these statistics — that i myself found difficult to believe — come from Nielsen. We don’t as a general rule mention sources as it takes away from the flow of a magazine feature, but we do, as a rule, make sure we are right. I would never go to press — and Wired’s rigorous fact check department would never allow me to — without having all our facts in order.
> fwiw, MySpace is able to serve so many ads because beyond receiving so much traffic, it also is incredibly sticky — i’m quoting from memory here, but i believe the average user spends something like 5 hours a month on the site. again, that’s from Nielsen NetRatings.

Robert Young (user link) says:

Re: # of ads per page and shitty cpm rates

Gabe nails it on the head. Community sites that rely mostly on user-generated content for placement inventory are not trusted by advertisers, so the CPMs are very low. A good rule of thumb is that the ad rates will be a least an order of magnitude lower than normal, even for extraordinarily popular sites such as MySpace. This, BTW, can prove to be the achilles heel of community-driven Web 2.0 models… it is imperative that advertisers get comfortable with the notion of placing ads next to totally uncontrollable/uneditable content.

A. Guy says:

No Subject Given

I get so frustrated sometimes with them. It seems like I can get into my account maybe only 60%-70% of the time. There has been a pretty large rumour floating around that in 6 months or so they are going to start charging people. Or perhaps have a premium subscription which will allow you extra things for your profile and ad-free. I dont deal with it very much so I could give a rats ass what they do….

JaeWu says:

Re: No Subject Given

Not to toot any horns, but a friend of mine has put stake in a different online “friend” place. gives you alot more functionality over myspace. To this day I can’t see what the big deal is with myspace. It fails to work 50% of the time and the overall appeal of the site is sloppy 🙂

Kendra (user link) says:

Re: Re: Myspace Rox and your all losers

Well, you guys. Yeah, there might be a few glitches and stuff, but its the funnest sight i have ever been to in my life. You obviously dont know something good when you see it. I have met so many friends on myspace, and I get to personalize my profile and let people know who I am. I get tp play my own music and put up pictures and just plain have fun. Its the best way me and all of my friends keep in touch and you guys are fucking retarded making a stupid forum about myspace. i mean, seriously. You must have nothing better to do than bitch about stupid shit and I think you need to grow up and just leave it alone. If you dont like myspace then dont go to it. If you do, then great. But that like me bitching about the colors that google uses. You guys get a fucking clue and don’t waste your damn time on this stuff.


Minion (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Why do you still exist?

If there was a higher concentration of emos in one place, we could put them on an island, then nuke it. “Kendra”, as you call yourself, you should really consider not using a coagulant the next time you cut yourself. Maybe you’ll bleed enough to die!

Then your pitiful, black soul will find its resting place in an eternal emo hellfire.
You said you like guys who dress in black? Why not guys who are charred black from BURNING ALIVE!

What’s this, are you going to cry? It’s fitting of an emo to walk around with a composition notebook, because they’re all “amazing writers with inspired thoughts on the ordering of english words to form poetry worthy of the blackest and most emo person around”

In closing, I’ll introduce you to:

Please, get a life, or take your own. The world is better off that way.

Jeff Howe says:

Figures used in my article

Wired does not make it regular practice to source our statistics within the context of a feature story. However, my articles — as well as everything else published in the magazine — are rigorously fact checked. In other words, we make it regular practice to be right. In this instance, the pageview statistic came from Nielsen NetRatings, and the number of ads served came from the Nielsen AdRelevance figure.

Nick says:

Myspace and Google

It seems to be ovious that myspace is not working as a monopoly, first it fails to break one of the very most important rules which is profit maximization. The whole truth of why Google and Myspace are able to harnest this market is that there is very little marginal cost. But this is soon to be exploited because new firms will seek to grab a chunk of the profits that are being made and thus drowning the market, demand will fall, and zero economic profits will be made. If Google wants to control the market they should’ve bought myspace as soon as they heard about it. Now they have alot of catching up to do.

Taylor says:

No Subject Given

Being a journalist, this is facinating. Wethter or not the reporter said the numbers were legitimate from Neilsen, we can assume the reporter is not legitimate. It truely does not take high intelligence to figure out that those numbers are absurd. Choosing a bad source makes you look just a retarded as messing up the information yourself.

Big Mike says:

Re: No Subject Given

Your typing and sentence structure is pretty pathetic for a journalist. Unless you are writing for some Elementary School’s newpaper I suggest you go back to school and take some basic reading/writing courses. Just cause you can type like that on IM doesn’t mean you can when you are trying to articulate some point. Oh yea, MySpace is awful for the world.. Please everyone, ask yourself how many of your friends who you thought were bright individuals and were going somewhere with their lives ave you seen fall by the wayside due to an addiciton for MySpace. Rupert Murdoch did not buy this company to make money off of the advertising, he bought this company to make money by exploiting Americans. The only way to truly exploit a group of people is if they are uneducated enough to not understand that they are being exploited. Rupert Murdoch is killing education by making sure that the youth of today keeps updating their webpages and checking on their comment section instead of checking up on the Bush Administration and all of the other corrupt politicians who are in control of our country.

PJ Brunet (user link) says:


With students, Myspace could be more popular than email right now… in a college town at least, you’ll hear about and see Myspace everywhere. One of the reasons why it works so well for communications–it gives you various options for authorizing incoming messages, something that email and IM lack… Maybe guys don’t care so much about authorization, but girls do. I’ve been online for 20+ years and I’ve seen a lot–Myspace is no joke.

Lori Ann Vermillion (user link) says:

The danger of myspace

I am a writing this as a concerned parent that has just discovered our children are in danger. I’d like to share what I have recently discovered about the computer website where kids create their own “space” online. When it was brought to my attention about a year and a half to 2 years ago by my pre-teen girls, I was not concerned. I asked a lot of questions but was assured that it was very clean and well monitored just like their “xanga” websites. What I did not do was explore it first. It was not until about a month ago when my 16 year old step-daughter began dating much older boys and behaving oddly. I also noticed the girls (I have three) seemed to be taking a lot of pictures of themselves in a variety of outfits. Of course, all of the one’s they showed me in the camera’s were very clean. I decided to visit my teens “myspace” based on the suggestion of another concerned parent. What I found was down right shocking. The first thing that caught me by surprise was a picture of my 16 year old daughter coming out of the shower with just a towel on and plenty of cleavage showing. (Remember, when my kids got their “spaces” on the web they were 11, 13 & 14 Next would be the picture of the gun she held to her head with explicit captions underneath and it goes on from there. I was very taken back you can imagine. I continued down her page only to see more unreal pictures. The most shocking of all were the posts that people were leaving or “comments” as they call it about her pictures. Next to these comments show pics of the people leaving these comments. In addition to many, many young men (17-21) were 40+ men discussing what they wanted to do to my daughter in great detail. When I asked her about this, she claimed she wanted the comments because it makes you “popular” in the myspace community. The more comments & the more “friends” the better. She refused to block the older offensive men from commenting due to this popularity. In several posts she was answering other teens questions like where do you go to school and where do you hang out. This is out there for everybody to see. So not only did the young guys see this, the older guys were as well. Not to mention there is no way of knowing if these “young” guys are really the same as what they say they are. Anyone can sign up. All you have to do is say you are 14. No parents permission is required and no verification is asked for other than your birthday. Any teen can do the math and make up the “appropriate” birthday to make them at least 14. Again, 2 of my girls were under 14 when they signed up for this. The next thing I did was click on her “friends” list and read their posts, comments, profiles etc. The use of sex and profanity was unbelievable. I could not repeat the explicit words for what they wanted or were doing to each other on line sexually. I also saw many nude pictures. What is the most upsetting about ALL of this is that I actually contacted I informed them of what I saw (yes I saved all the e-mails) and what I was concerned about. I asked them to delete my daughters “space” as I could not due to the fact that it was password protected. They refused and told me I should monitor my children better if I don’t like what they are doing. It is now a fact that children have access to the internet just about everywhere, friends, the library, internet cafe’s and even school. My youngest visited myspace more than once at school on “free time”. She did inform me today that her teacher announced it was no longer permitted. The customer service department at myspace refused my request twice and told me they would only remove it if I could prove she broke their terms of service. I told them right off the bag she was lying about her age and that should be enough to cancel her account. Again, they refused and would not help.

I am pleading that we make this a newsworthy matter so that ALL parents can be made aware of the dangers their children are being exposed to everyday.

Judah (user link) says:


Just to let you know I have Nielsen Netratings and the last month I checked they made about $27-28 million a month in advertising revenue. This is not even including other forms of revenue. Most people that say they have Nielsen do not because they charge about $25,000 dollars a year for one of their services.

Check out the article

elle says:

Bad Parent


You make it sound like it’s MySpace’s fault that your daughter is lying and exposing herself to strangers on the Internet.

It’s not appropriate to blame a Web site for your daughter’s behavior, or for your choice to support it.

If you’re concerned about your daughter, you should learn enough about the Internet and your computer to be able to supervise her behavior. You can put a login on your computer so that you would have to log her onto it before she uses it. You could put the computer in an open area of your house, so that people would be around her when she’s online. You could let her know what your expectations are and what the ramifications are if she does not meet your expectations.

There are hundreds of ways for your daughter to get into trouble on the Internet. As a parent, though, it’s your responsibility to keep her out of trouble. That means you can’t blame MySpace or the Internet for what she does, YOU need to actively parent her.

vox (user link) says:

Jeff Howe is an idiot

He quotes the Nielson Rating System. This idiot Jeff Howe is so dumb that he is unaware that Nielson was taken over by a shadowy netherlands company whose board of directors has links to US intelligence. The function of Nielson is now twofold:

a) To shield the TRUTH from the American people AND advertizers about the huge plunge in viewership of television across all demographics (especially the critical demographic – young people)

b) To reshape the American Mind into a sort of thuggish nationalistic obedient population by anointing producers who produce shows that conform to the AGENDA of desexualization, the breakdown of teh individual, the implementation of fear and isolation and control into the american population. And how do they do this? It’s easy – with shows like COPS which they say is one of the most popular shows ever – the fact is it is not.

Jeff Howe is a nieve no brained asshole who knows nothing about anything.

To get the facts about your world go to

Zach (user link) says:


i think you guys bitch way to much about myspace aand stuff so ok theres a few sexual predtors on it ok… so theres over 50 million of them that lurk on the streets ok, theres over 85 milloin of us on myspace ok so you know what shutup ok you people waste so much times on buliding these websites that complain about myspace your not going to ban myspace

Zack (user link) says:

you ppl are gay

ok so this is the way i see this comment 40 you are the biggest fucking homo in the workld ok you probably haven’t even tried myspace o and all you “Concerned Parents” who want to delete your childs myspace you cant if they have listed themselves as over 18 o and one other thing im gonna send a bulletin out to all the ppl on myspace and im directing them to this sight and all the myspacers will give you faggots a peice of there mind

Zack (user link) says:

you ppl are gay

ok so this is the way i see this comment 40 you are the biggest fucking homo in the workld ok you probably haven’t even tried myspace o and all you “Concerned Parents” who want to delete your childs myspace you cant if they have listed themselves as over 18 o and one other thing im gonna send a bulletin out to all the ppl on myspace and im directing them to this sight and all the myspacers will give you faggots a peice of there mind

josh (user link) says:

myspace is good but to many ppl put out to much imfo its there fault it the get butt raped not ares there the idio by telling everyone were the live and were they go to skool at…. i know theres sexual pretetors but on my file theres nothing about were i live or my skool its there fault they put out to much on there file and its there fault for being the idoiot talkin to ppl they dont know and telling there personal imformation i have no problem bout myspace cuz i know everyone on my file and again myspace is not bad for everone not everyone is gona get it up the butt only the dumasses they tell everyone what they are you do and mett up with ramdom ppl

Josh (user link) says:

one of the best thing ever

myspace is one of the best online profile thing ever, and everyone is gona fuck it up with there bitching yes theres beensome ppl gettin mad at myspace but its not everones fault its the ppl that put up there personla imformation there the ones thats gona ruen it foreverone tom made a great thing and everyone should apreceate it some ppl need to quit there biching they shold shut up, ITS some ppl that are making it bad they shouldnt put so much stuff of them self on it and were they live there messing it up for everone!

Myspace is awesome but som eppl dont apeceate it they just messing it up for everone and TOM!!!

fuck everone that dont this comment and everyone else bitch……….

Tino says:

What the fuck?

Why do people make discussion turn into arguments?

1) Who cares what myspace makes as a profit… is it going to change anything that happens to you!

2) If you dont like myspace dont visit it… retards!

3)If you dont want your kids on the site dont let them use the fekin computer… get a grip you are parents, not lawyers, discipline your children not people who are running internet business’s for a living!

Myspace is a good website this is obvious due to its overwhelming popularity… if you disagree then you are an idiot with a very low i.q!


A Genius (user link) says:



Quote, ” It is up to you, and only one, to spread the word and reach more people who will indeed create a chain reaction which will be the downfall of a corporate giant.”

Quote, ” Where are they getting these numbers from this isn’t calculus, hell I think bush is playing the fucking Lottery”

Quote. “Fuck Myspace”

Quote, “Fuck Rupert Murdoch the little slitchering snake bitch needs to fall are and die and then in his will give his money to charity”

Quote, “You Fucking Cockroach” – Scarface

All other quotes are from “A Genius

Brandon says:

Concerned Parents

Do the “concerned parents” that are “concerning” up this thread really think that finding some way of deleting their daughters account is really going to solve the problem here?

She will have a new account tomorrow from her friends house, the library, internet cafe, etc.

Why don’t you try being a parent first. If your kid had drugs, would you secretly throw them away while she’s at school and think the problem was solved?

Baby D says:

My Space, Rupert and who gets hurt

1) Who cares what myspace makes as a profit… is it going to change anything that happens to you!

This is just pure ignorance. You think profit making corporations don’t have anything to do with what happens to you?

Look dittohead, get it out of your ASS and learn how your economy works and affects your life!
I hope you are not older than 10. Go back to school and this time PAY ATTENTION!!!!!

pete says:

conserned parents and myspace

ya know as i see it now days “parents” arnt parents any more they sit there kids in front of a tv or a computer to “babysit” while they work there asses off for $$
and god forbid they spank there kids now days for messing up but due to right wing neo nazi morons that say” spanking your kid is wrong!” they dont ! or even ground them you do know whut grounding is right people? …. means ya sit in your room with a book period no tv, no computer ,no vid games, no telephone, no cell phone, no nothing but a book and maybe a stereo thats it thats grounding and they have no clues to what there kids are doing online then when the kid get in truble or makes a web page with god knows whut kinda language or pics they are quick to blame the sites and make some stupid law suit to shut them down kinda like the judas priest trial in the 1985 some kids were “listening” to them went and made a pact to commit suicide parents blamed the band saying there was sublimital messages maybe just maybe had they been parenting they would have seen signs to there kids probs ! theres soo many ways to “monitor” your kids online activitys move the computer to a high traffic area in the home block certin sites, password the computer, key loggers netnanny and other web blocking programs and for gods sake sit with your kids while they are online!
stop blaming web sites or even web services for YOUR kids actions blame your self for NOT PARENTING RIGHT!
im forty years old been a punk rocker sence 1979 i have NEVER EVER WANTED TO KILL MY SELF NOR GO OUT AND HURT SOMEONE ELSE JUST CUZ I LISTENED TO MUSIC i also got spanked as a kid for “messing” up and never once did i feel i needed to beat my kids with a belt 900 times for messin up or twist there arm till it broke theres a fine line of abuse and disopline 5 times on the ass makes the kid think! (and ya i know u cant zatcly spank a teen )not on the arm or leg or head on the butt! wake the hell up you ” consernd” parents and take back parenting! and stop blaming others for your parenting faults!
and for the morons that worry and whine about how much $$ tom makes dont.. he saw a opertunity to make money and ran with it ….. ya all know whom bill gates is right? did the same thing started microsoft now we got windows to run all of our puters and yes bill was sneaky and decitefull we all know that but look at him now muliti billionare
and yes there are other opertating systems out there like linux and knoppix and yes mac computers its a comparison

Tom Anderson says:


Re: interesting by Anonymous Coward on Nov 2nd, 2005 @ 1:54pm
Very good post, they need to be called out on that.
This time next year MySpace will likely be in the graveyard right next to Friendster.

(reply to this comment) (link to this comment)
I thought this was funny and figured I’d drop a line. Its actually no ones business how much I or any one else involved with makes. I just wanted to let you all know we are going no where and are here to stay!

Aaron says:

Fuck you Murdock!

Skumbag Murdock, you media tool fool. I’m glad your American you fuck you don’t deserve to be called Australian. Go Fuck yourself fucker and stay Away from the land of the free scumbag. You yanks should get your heads out of your own arses and have a look at the rest of the world. You don’t understand that you are a contributer, not a fucking ruler. Your cops are shit, your democracy nothing. You don’t know how to look after yourselves anymore let alone your downtrodden nor the rest of the world. Its fucking hilarious that now you have to choose between a Black and a Woman. Maybe you are the real thing after all, like what choice do you have? But listing to that tool Murdock in my opinion makes me laugh even harder. If you want to live in a real society with a conscience, not forced upon you but voted for, take the example Australia offers after turfing John Howard and go forward with us, its so much better than the crap you have just been through and the biased journalism you get fed. Cheers from Australia.

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