Van Natta Out As MySpace Plans Major Overhaul

LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — After an executive shakeup, MySpace is making plans for a comprehensive overhaul that will see the social networking website attempt to retake the initiative from rivals such as Facebook and Twitter.

Changes planned for MySpace were revealed by the company's two new co-presidents, Jason Hirschhorn and Mike Jones, who replaced the former CEO Owen Van Natta. Van Natta, who had been with the firm for just ten months, abruptly resigned from his post at the company on March 10.

The revamped MySpace will attempt to focus more on enabling users to discover and share content. "MySpace is a not place for people to talk about what they are up to. It’s the place people talk about what they are into." Hirschorn told the Telegraph during an interview.

Planned upgrades for the web service will support the effort to develop a new conceptual model for MySpace and one of the features that will be deployed is a new 'recommendation engine' that will suggest new content such as games, music and videos to users based on their previous content usage.

MySpace also plans to to offer their Dashboard feature, which had been previously available to musicians, to all users by the end of this summer. MySpace hopes that this will enhance the website's video and audio offerings and create a "next generation environment" as well as allowing users to create more interactive environments on their profile page with interactive features such as contests.

The dashboard tool also allows users to access to MySpace music data that shows where an artist's fans come from, what songs they are listening to, frequency of visits for listeners and other information that can be displayed in trending charts, graphs and snapshots.

The planned upgrades will also see a revamp of all user profiles, starting with all artists that currently have a MySpace presence. MySpace developed a reputation in its early years for featuring cluttered and ungainly user profiles.

MySpace is also planning a refurb of its mobile offerings and according to the Telegraph, plans to roll out 20 to 30 mobile apps across a variety of platforms, including the iPhone, the Blackberry and Android phones that will allow 3rd party developers to leverage portions of MySpace content for delivery to mobile platforms.

Despite their plans, MySpace will have an uphill battle to revive their fortunes. According to Nielsen, MySpace in the U.S. logged 51.6 million unique visitors last month against 116.3 million unique users for the current king of the social networking hill, Facebook.

"We are impatient to bang the drum for MySpace, but want to wait for the product to be up to speed. We are aiming to go on a huge marketing push by the latter portion of this year." Jones told the Telegraph. – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers

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