[iDC] MySpace staff cuts

Jean Burgess jean at creativitymachine.net
Wed Jun 24 15:33:25 UTC 2009

Sean, thanks for this concrete example. It points us to something I  
find very interesting.

On the one hand, you have the massive unpaid workforce of people who  
through their various activities co-create the value (however defined)  
of platforms for user-created content. On the other, you have the  
profound inability of most of these platform providers to make any  
real money out of that activity - once you factor in bandwidth costs,  
and at least thus far.

YouTube is a particularly sharp example of this -where UGC is both the  
driver of YouTube's growth and a ruinous waste of bandwidth because  
nobody wants to run their ads alongside it: it's unpredictable in  
content and not clearly enough located in any particular national  
(that is, US) market.

For platform providers like YouTube Inc, the "users" who provide  
content (and who have to a very significant extent built the thing we  
call YouTube) are, I suspect, seen as mere placeholders (one day, the  
"real", monetisable content will replace all those pointless  
skateboarding cat videos). The trouble is, YouTube now has a culture  
of its own: and its "attention economy" is in practical terms  
incompatible with commercial media logics.

I really do think this is a weird situation.


On 24/06/2009, at 2:17 PM, Sean Cubitt <scubitt at unimelb.edu.au> wrote:

> What’s so fascinating is just how small the workforce behind a globa 
> l player can be; pointing toards the economic scale of content produ 
> ction by users
> Extracted from a longer piece at
> http://www.theage.com.au/technology/biz-tech/myspace-cuts-twothirds-of-global-workforce-20090624-cvw1.html
> June 24, 2009 - 10:15AM
> Social networking site MySpace plans to cut 300 jobs, or two-thirds  
> of its overseas work force, in an effort to rein in costs and focus  
> on countries where it has many users and better business  
> opportunities.
> The move comes a week after the News Corp. unit said it would cut  
> 420 jobs in the U.S., or nearly 30 per cent of its domestic work  
> force. Combined, the cuts will reduce MySpace's employee base by  
> nearly 40 per cent to about 1,150.
> "Our goal to tap into as many international markets as possible  
> drove us to create too many offices around the globe, and with them  
> came inefficiencies," chief executive Owen Van Natta, a former  
> executive at rival Facebook, said in a memo sent to employees.
> Regards
> sean
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