So what do we know now? MySpace is planning to lay off 300 of its 450 non-U.S. employees, or two thirds of international staff. In the absence of any official statement to contrary, international managing director Travis Katz remains in his position.
The company will “close at least 4 of its offices outside the United States,” with London, Berlin, and Sydney becoming the primary regional hubs for MySpace’s international operations. [Update: We’re now hearing everyone in the UK MySpace office has been offered voluntary redundancy, though it’s not yet clear to which seniority level that applies]
The 10 offices which look to be ready to be cut under the “formal proposal” to restructure are: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France, India, Italy, Mexico, Russia, Sweden, and Spain under review for possible restructure. MySpace China and Japan will be untouched. [Update: Our sources say the Canadian office closes this Friday, we’ll check this].
But according to news coming in from other parts of Europe, some offices are not hanging around to be “restructured”. France is almost certainly going to go, from what we’ve been told, and already at least one Russian news blog is reporting that the Russian office of MySpace will “cease its activities” on Jun 30 – at least according to Andrei Mironov, director of Legal Affairs for MySpace there.
In fact, the MySpace Russian branch was opened only last year, despite the fact that it had a relatively modest (in Russia) 350,000 registered users – although country manager Alexander Turkot planned to take that (how exactly?) to 1.3-1.5 million. MySpace Russia was reportedly turning over $5-6 million in revenues.
So the decision to focus on London and Berlin in Europe rather betrays the failure of MySpace’s strategy in other parts of Europe. Questions will be asked as to why – if MySpace was doing as badly against Facebook as we knew it was – did MySpace in Europe so often put on free concerts for their users? What this helping them build traffic?
OK, I’ll have to admit I was one of those who enjoyed the February MySpace concert in Barcelona (Travis Katz and Chris de Wolfe are pictured above), which coincided with de Wolfe’s appearance at 3GSM in the city. Hey, I’m no stick in the mud, and I like a good concert as much as anyone. And Internet companies that work hard deserve to kick back and have fun, right? But given what we know now, was this really the best use of MySpace’s time and money?
Then there was the recent Lilly Allen concert in London (no, I didn’t go) – a star broken on MySpace but now with 123,361 fans on Facebook as well, so we’re not talking about brand loyalty here.
I have a request into MySpace in London asking for information on the concerts they held around Europe in the past year, which hopefully they can come up with.
I guess I may not get an invite to any others, but then again perhaps MySpace would do well to get back to doing what it promised to do last year: namely be a better social platform. It did some laudable work with developers in the UK and around Europe, promoting OpenSocial, for that we can thank them. But somewhere along the line that fell by the wayside. Perhaps MySpace partied too hard?