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MySpace CEO and Founder DeWolfe Steps Down

Yesterday, News Corp.'s "Chief Digital Officer" Jonathan Miller issued a press statement, in conjunction with MySpace CEO Chris DeWolfe, announcing DeWolfe's departure from the company that he'd helped to build. In the statement, Miller and DeWolfe spoke rosily of each other, and of their respective corporations, Miller making sure to point out that DeWolfe would remain with the company as an advisor.

TechCrunch writer Michael Arrington seems to think that the rose-colored press release -- not much more revealing in its form as an internal memo -- may just be a way of covering up sketchy, backroom goings on. "But at least Miller is giving DeWolfe as graceful an exit as he can," Arrington adds. He does suggest, though, that Tom 'The Face of Myspace' Anderson's top-dog days may be numbered, as well. Of Anderson, Arrington wrote yesterday, ".. Anderson will apparently stay on but not as President and will no longer control product." While we don't know if we'd go quite that far in our predictions, we will point out that Jonathan Miller's internal memo reads: "I am currently in discussions with MySpace President Tom Anderson regarding his role within the organization."

According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, the crux of the problems that these changes seem to be addressing can be identified in a single word: Facebook. "The decision suggests News Corp.'s growing dissatisfaction with the company that it acquired for $580 million," Dawn C. Chmielewski speculated today, "but that is now losing ground to rival Facebook." We tend to agree with her. Last month, Facebook's membership surpassed 200 million, effectively doubling over a period of eight months. According to Miller's press release, MySpace's members currently number 130 million, substantially fewer than Facebook's. As Facebook's constant updates and redesigns are often speculated to be its greatest asset, we would expect the conventionally slow-paced MySpace to now reassess its tactics. We are not surprised, therefore, to read in the L.A. Times that Facebook's former Chief Revenue Officer Owen Van Natta is being considered for the MySpace position.

While we are all for competition, and hope that MySpace and Facebook will continue to bring out the best in one another, we also don't want to see MySpace ape its younger, currently more popular sibling. While MySpace's spam levels are unacceptably high, and its ad-heavy layout can be cumbersome, it's still our favorite place to check out new bands and to read our social networking friends' blogs. And, while it might be slow to change, we've never had a hard time navigating the site, as we did after Facebook overhauled its design ten months ago. Or, as it did two months ago. [From: News Corp. and TechCrunch and Los Angeles Times]

Tags: chris dewolfe, ChrisDewolfe, facebook, myspace, news corp, NewsCorp, social networking, SocialNetworking, top

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