Some key takeaways here. Traffic is a lagging indicator. MySpace was the biggest website in 2009 but the staff already knew at the time that it was over.
By 2009, MySpace was still the biggest website in terms of traffic, but Facebook was growing fast by this point, and according to Percival the atmosphere was defeatist when he joined the company.
When you build a media platform that scales, at some point, you start focusing on monetization. With online, it typically means you are packaging up users and selling them to advertisers.
Percival remembered an infamous ad called Punch The Monkey …
“It was one of the most annoying things you could do with an ad, but they just didn’t care: they had no respect for the users. It was all about monetisation. Making money, squeezing every dollar out of it,” said Percival.
There are many sites who takes this approach to making money that have been able to do it in a more durable way than MySpace. The takeaway is that it can work but it really depends on the competitive positioning of your product.