Sean Parker: MySpace Could Have Been Facebook

MySpace is dying a very slow, painful death. On Tuesday it was rumored that this week, a lesser-known player would likely agree to buy the beleaguered site for under $30 million , just a fraction of the $580 million News Corp. paid to acquire MySpace in 2005, a purchase that was considered a savvy move on the media giant's part at the time.

But six years later, critics are singing a different tune. TechCrunch reports that in a chat with TV host Jimmy Fallon at the NExTWORK conference in New York, former Facebook president and Napster co-founder Sean Parker gave some insight as to why MySpace tanked.

"[MySpace failed] to execute the product development," he told Fallon. "They weren't successful in iterating and evolving the product enough, it was basically this junk heap of bad design that persisted for many, many years. There was a period of time where if they had just copied Facebook rapidly, I think they would have been Facebook. The network effects, the scale effects were enormous. There was so much power there."

News Corp. attempted to resuscitate MySpace last fall by relaunching it as an entertainment and music hub, but the overhaul didn't help breathe life into the struggling site. MySpace kicked off 2011 by laying off nearly half its staff and more layoffs are rumored to be planned for this week, depending on the alleged buyer.

While MySpace, the once top-social site, failed, Facebook has quite obviously exploded. Parker said it benefitted by entering the space gradually, starting with college students.

"The reason [Facebook] went in through college was because college kids were generally not MySpace users, college kids were generally not Friendster users," he said. It was this completely open market and it was a real long shot. Nobody actually believed… that you could enter the market through this niche market and gradually through this kind of carefully calculated war against all the other networks become the one network to rule them all."

Facebook reportedly now more than 700 million members whereas users just keep fleeing from MySpace. Will News Corp. finally announce a buyer this week? PCMag will have more details as they're revealed.

You can watch the entire interview below. For the MySpace comments, skip ahead to about 20:54.