The Friday Interview: James Fabricant, MySpace

20 Apr 2007

This week’s interviewee is James Fabricant (pictured), sales and marketing director of MySpace.

The social networking phenomenon in many ways reinvigorated the internet medium. How would you describe MySpace’s mission and the impetus behind its fast growth?

I was one of the first European hires at MySpace and started there a year ago. As a company MySpace is three and a half years old.

We are fundamentally a next-generation network based on a social-networking platform. It’s a place where people live their lives online and where they can express themselves, connect with like-minded people and discover popular culture.

Rupert Murdoch’s acquisition of MySpace for US$580m focused minds in the traditional media on the importance of social networking. How does MySpace rest alongside traditional media?

We see ourselves as absolutely complementary to traditional media. The internet is a fantastic entertainment channel as well as a distribution mechanism for media owners.

In this day and age you have to put your content where the people are and MySpace is a huge online community where millions of conversations are going on every day.

It offers a richer media experience than that of a traditional print or broadcast model.

How would you describe MySpace’s business model?

The model is very much advertising based. We’ve built a very robust business that is growing every day.

MySpace is continually evolving and we are currently working on lots of new features about which I can’t be specific except to say that we listen to users and build out features that empower them to live their lives more online.

The fundamental truth about MySpace is that the opinions and actions of users really drive the site’s development.

MySpace is the fifth-largest site on the internet. How fast is it actually growing?

Globally we have 168 million registered members and this is growing at a daily rate of 350,000. This amounts to one million new people every three days. The growth can certainly be described as exponential.

There are rumours that MySpace is about to open a network operations centre in Ireland. Can you comment on this?

We have plans to launch soon in Ireland. I can’t give specific details but we are working hard to find exactly what it is that our Irish users want and what is going to be most relevant.

In terms of actual plans to set up a physical operation, I can’t comment on that.

There is a lot of speculation around the marriage of social networking with mobile. What are MySpace’s plans in this area?

We’ve already launched MySpace on mobile as part of an exclusive deal with Vodafone for three months, after which we will work with other operators.

Our mobile proposition is to have the full functionality of MySpace tailored for mobile phones.

By John Kennedy