Recent reports (Reuters) show that News Corp's digital division Fox Interactive Media expects to be turning over $500 million per annum by 2007, up from $350 million in 2006 of which ~$200 million will originate with MySpace.
These are numbers that admit of two interpretations; one benign, one less so.
On the one hand, $500 million revenues in 2007 represents year-on-year growth of 43%. The benign interpretation, therefore, is that MySpace (and to a limited extent FIM's other digital properties) is growing strongly, with MySpace revenues already up to $15.5 million (SeekingAlpha) from the $2.5 million a month the site made in its last month before the News Corp acquisition, July 2005.
On the other hand, this superficially impressive growth at the world's fourth-largest English-speaking website continues to look like a rounding error when compared to the other four of the top five. eBay revenues (TheRegister) stood at $1.4 billion in 1Q2006; Google generated $2.25 billion over the same period (Amr Awadallah). For 2007, the revenue forecast (SeekingAlpha) picture is:
Google: $10.5 billion
eBay: $7.7 billion
Yahoo!: $6 billion and
FIM (including MySpace but also IGN and others): $0.5 billion
Even on Fox's own presumably upbeat forecasts, there is no indication that the world's biggest social networking phenomenon will be worth even a twentieth as much as the world's biggest search destination in eighteen months. Fox's latest medium-term forecasts are as good as an admission that there is no plan for monetising MySpace's massive page inventory in a way that competes on even vaguely equal terms with the handful of other sites that are of comparable size.