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Stealing MySpace: The Battle to Control the Most Popular Website in America
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Stealing MySpace: The Battle to Control the Most Popular Website in America

3.47  ·  Rating Details ·  168 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
A few years ago, was just an idea kicking around a Southern California spam mill. Scroll down to the present day and MySpace is one of the most visited Internet destinations in America, displaying more than 40 billion webpage views per month and generating nearly $1 billion annually for Rupert Murdoch’s online empire. Even by the standards of the Internet age, ...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published March 17th 2009 by Random House (first published January 1st 2009)
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Ryan Holiday
Jul 05, 2012 Ryan Holiday rated it liked it
A friend who works at YouTube recommended this because he said it was a good example of the differences between the start-up cultures in Los Angeles and the Silicon Valley. He was right and I'm glad I read it. The differences he referred to are going to become important as these kinds of companies become larger parts of our lives. An infamous example at Google was when they ran a series of tests to decide between 43 shades of blue and not only didn't see anything wrong with that but bragged ...more
Dec 26, 2009 Roy rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who lives online or has an idea for a website
Recommended to Roy by: NPR
I’ve read a bunch of corporate biographies, most are informative and surprising, and all have given me a greater understanding of how the modern business world works. Corporations have a life cycle (an origination story, development, maturity, etc) which gives them a narrative similar to a person. The best corporate biographies almost always end with a great, hedonistic explosion. Hubris and a fall are essential to this genre (see Enron) – there’s really no good reason to tell the story without ...more
Jun 05, 2009 mark rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
STEALING MYSPACE: The battle to control the most popular website in America, (2009) is an amazing story. It’s an inside look at the business of social networking, avarice, and greed. It is well documented. A few things stand out: The amount of money involved— millions and millions of dollars are thrown around and some people have gotten very rich. Where does all the money come from? The consumer. The things people will spend money on are shocking. Someone, often a high school dropout, schemes an ...more
Jul 30, 2011 Rebecca rated it liked it
We all know how interested I am in social networking sites. This book says it has the publish date of April 2009 yet it is already out of date. The story seems to end in mid-2008 and on the inside flap it totes MySpace as the biggest website in the world. This book is a good example of why people don't read books anymore as the turn around time for it being finished to publication puts it out of date before it was even on sale. But it's a good book in terms of history and numbers as there is so ...more
Mar 12, 2011 Anthony rated it really liked it
For a brief period in time, myspace was THE social networking site. This is the story of it's start and rise. It's interesting for a number of reasons - unlike most internet companies that were started by someone with a great idea and a passion, myspace was intentionally started as a me-too knockoff site by a company that sold wrinkle cream and crappy toy helicopters via spam email by a group of people that included a guy whose side business was running an Asian porn site.

The book is fast-paced
Jul 25, 2011 Jessica rated it liked it
Knowing the founders and seeing this story unfold from the 'inside,' it was interesting to read the story from a reporter's perspective. Though it's not too detailed, she got a lot right. The book unfolds, however, like dozens of other books like it. A peek into a soon-to-be millionaire's background, the drama and intrigue of growing a business on a super rapid scale, and the fruition of all that unfolding on the public stage. So unless you're interested in MySpace in particular, the book ...more
Chris Aylott
Aug 23, 2009 Chris Aylott rated it liked it
I've never been on Myspace (it's obviously too hip for me), but this history by Wall Street Journal reporter Julia Angwin makes for an interesting lesson in both web development and web business. It's giving me some insight in to why we make some of the choices we do with our games, and also illustrates some of the pitfalls we can fall into.

Most of all, it's a cautionary tale. When this book was written -- only a year ago -- Myspace was riding high at the top of the Internet. Since then, it has
Dwayne Ackley
Jan 02, 2011 Dwayne Ackley rated it really liked it
A good book, slightly dated. Published two years ago just as Facebook was starting to massively grow. Myspace in the beginning was a very feature driven site allowing people a lot of freedom in how their site looked and giving musicians a ready made Geocities replacement. Facebook was (and is) always driven more by social interaction, ease of use, and constant activity updates. Most people that spent hours on their Myspace page did so because they had to constantly find new HTML codes for their ...more
Feb 25, 2014 Dawn rated it it was ok
Recommended to Dawn by: Planet Money
Shelves: knowledge-nf, 2011
It was interesting, though it was hard for me to tell all the wannabe hipsters and boring executives apart. I would recommend keeping a list for more in-depth reading. I didn't find any of the founders particularly likable, and so many people were making so many millions that it was hard for me to feel sorry for the people who got screwed in the various deal making. That was one advantage of reading the book now that Myspace is experiencing a rapid decline, all the people fighting over control ...more
Frederick Bingham
Jan 01, 2012 Frederick Bingham rated it liked it
This is about the history of Myspace, the popular social networking website. It was developed by a group of entrepreneurs in Los Angeles (as opposed to Silicon Valley). The people who created it were some pretty sleazy hucksters. The company it sprang from made much of its money selling spyware and wrinkle cream. The website itself was copied off a number of competitors, but somehow managed to win out.

The book was a little more detailed than I was interested in, so I did some skimming. In genera
Jul 31, 2009 Malakeo rated it liked it
current biz books should not print epilogues at the end of titles, instead they should just have a link to a blog where the epilogue can be continually kept up to date...even though this books just came out last year, it is already out of date as the major players have been fired/moved on and the herd has shifted from MySpace to FB among others.
Well researched read that keeps your attention throughout as the continuous drama, greed, and scheming unfolds. Funny how there are so many similarities
Aug 30, 2010 Bill rated it liked it
This book needed a better editor. Lots of interesting information about the rise and fortune made from MySpace, but a lot of that info didn't flow together. Some anecdotes should have been put into footnotes or omitted altogether. The chapter on Tila Tequilla was interesting and I think tried to be a tie-in with the chapter on security issues, but that wasn't done real well. Overall - good information, but could have been better organized & edited.
University of Chicago Magazine
Julia Angwin, AB'92

From our pages (May–June/09): Behind the scenes at a Rupert Murdoch executive retreat—and behind the backs of the MySpace founders—Google and News Corp. hammered out a blockbuster deal.

Read the excerpt:

Read the interview with Angwin:
Richard MacManus
Jul 05, 2009 Richard MacManus rated it really liked it
Very good history and overview of MySpace. Particularly strong on the pre-history, when the MySpace founders were busy scrapping a living from email and pop-up spam and porn. The founders almost accidentally stumbled on a winner with social networking, which was eventually acquired by News Corp. The book fell away a bit near the end, where I was counting pages till the finish. But definitely worth reading if you're interested in Internet culture.
Nov 28, 2009 Robin rated it liked it
Full of details, though MySpace wants you to know this is not an authorized corporate biography. It bogs down in numbers in the middle, as Fox orchestrates a purchase, but starts and ends with the kind of "you can't make this up" turns that nearly explains the famous-for-being-famous culture of contemporary America.
Jun 25, 2012 Tiffany rated it liked it
Yes, it feels dated because MySpace is like forever ago. But actually it's a pretty interesting look into the time of the whole web 2.0 boom when people were trying to figure out what this social media thing was all about.The fact that a book written 4 years ago feels "forever ago" makes you think that there
s a good chance we sill haven't figured out the whole social media thing.
Jan 14, 2011 Sucharita rated it it was amazing
a bit too much on the boardroom drama but a great portrait of the rise of myspace. i'd love to read the sequel on the fall of myspace as well but that's yet to be written. what's most fascinating is that myspace "won" (for a brief time) being everything friendster was not. and ironically, facebook is for all intents and purposes essentially a better friendster.
Jowanza Joseph
May 12, 2014 Jowanza Joseph rated it it was amazing
Though this book is a bit outdated and it would be awesome if it went up to 2012. As someone who experienced all the changes on MySpace it was awesome to hear what was going on in the background. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in technology history and how social networks grow and fail over time.
Feb 25, 2011 Ivy rated it it was ok
Angwin extensively researched the topic (even quoting teenage Usenet postings of one of the founders) but failed to construct a compelling narrative. I have a friend who used to work there--I've heard how insane it was, office culture-wise, and that fails to get communicated in the book. Instead, it is a long litany of corporate deal making and stock options.
B. Factor
May 17, 2009 B. Factor rated it liked it
A detailed account of the origins of myspace as a low-budget friendster knock-off and its journey to become the most-visited web site. It's dry but relevant to anyone interested in how new products/services are created and can grow to be so immensely successful despite the mistakes of their owners.
Streator Johnson
May 12, 2014 Streator Johnson rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the book. I even enjoyed all the "Board Room" discussion that others complained of, but it is rather freakish how quickly it is outdated by reality. Myspace may have been important and a trendsetter once, but now? I think not.
Oct 08, 2009 Briana rated it did not like it
Gave up halfway through....the sections about the evolution of social networking were interesting, but I really could not care less about the personalities of all the internet start-up executives, which were described in excruciating detail.
Aug 13, 2012 Jess rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
Background information is really interesting, but this book is in desperate need of an update. A "Downfall of Myspace" chapter maybe, as this book ends with Facebook being a nonissue...
Anna Dalhaimer Bartkowski
Jun 07, 2009 Anna Dalhaimer Bartkowski rated it really liked it
Not too far into it, but it makes one wonder about the value of "social networking" online...and the calibre of the people who control it.
Aug 31, 2009 Melissa rated it really liked it
This book looked interesting at the library so I picked it up. It's pretty good, considering I'm 15 pages into it. Further review will come after the finishing of this novel. :)
Nov 03, 2016 Elizabeth rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 08, 2012 Rebecca rated it really liked it
Shelves: pure-trash
Very entertaining. What a surprise - the guys who founded My Space are grifter douchbags and their much of their success was lucky ineptitude.
Oct 19, 2009 Karen rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I got a little lost with all the various characters, but I suppose that tells you a lot about the story of MySpace.
George Defenbaugh
Nov 25, 2010 George Defenbaugh rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audible
Helped me understand the origins of MySpace, and especially how it evolved so differently from Facebook. I can better appreciate news reports I hear today about MySpace
Dec 18, 2010 Lisa rated it liked it
It is good but frightening. The finances, behind the scenes dealing, level of duplicity was amazing and depressing.

I won't look at the internet the same way ever again.
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