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Myspace Tom’s new life and ‘career’ after selling site for £425m back in 2005

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For many people born in the Eighties and early Nineties, Tom Anderson was their first online friend.

Before Facebook, Twitter, and all their various imitators were even a bubble in a Silicon Valley programmer’s energy drink, MySpace ruled the Internet. From 2005 to 2008, it was the biggest social networking site in the world.

And as soon as you joined, MySpace Tom was automatically added to your friends list. Tom Anderson was one of the founders of the network, a computer hacker who narrowly escaped prosecution after he broke into a bank’s security system while still a teenager.

Tom set up the first MySpace site in 2003, as an alternative to now-forgotten social site Friendster.

Two years later Tom, and co-creator Chris DeWolfe, sold the site to Rupert Murdoch’s massive News Corp organisation for $580 million.

Why did it succeed? While customisable pages and sending a photographer on a tour of the US to actively recruit attractive young women to sign up to the network definitely helped, a lot of MySpace’s success was just a case of being in the right place at the right time.

The site's value peaked at some $12 billion in 2007 amid rumours of a merger between NewsCorp and Yahoo!

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Tom carried on as company president until 2009, saying "Before [we sold the company], I could do whatever I wanted. Now it takes more time to get people to agree on things. All the budget reviews and processes. That can be a pain. But it's not stopping us."

But after four years struggling against bureaucracy he stepped down as president, and within a year was replaced as everybody’s “first friend” by an automated character called T.O.M, or “Today On MySpace.”

Since then, Tom has been based in Hawaii, enjoying a luxurious “retirement” as a travel photographer. His estimated net worth is in the region of $65 million.

Tom is currently touring glamorous locations around the world such as Thailand, Bhutan and the Maldives, and taking beautiful photos of them.

While he’s not anyone’s “first friend” any more he has a not-too-shabby 633,000 followers on Instagram following the social media pioneer's travels as he hones his craft as a photographer.

Still aged only 50 he’s living the dream, with few people bothering him and enough money in the bank to last several lifetimes.

MySpace still exists, now mainly as a platform for bands to upload their demos. It still gets millions of hits every month – and it's bigger than Parler.

MySpace lost its relevance in the age of Facebook because, Tom’s co-founder Chris DeWolfe says, they tried to do too many different things at once: “We tried to create every feature in the world and said, ‘O.K., we can do it, why should we let a third party do it?’

“We should have picked five to ten key features that we totally focused on and let other people innovate on everything else.”

Not that that will bother Tom. He’s happily pursuing his hobby and won’t need to work another day in his life.

The Daily Star reached out to Tom to ask what he’s doing right now but it turns out he’s not our friend any more.

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