Tom Anderson

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For other people named Tom Anderson, see Tom Anderson (disambiguation).
Tom Anderson
Born (1970-11-08) November 8, 1970 (age 44)
Residence Los Angeles[1]
Alma mater University of California, Berkeley University of California, Los Angeles
Occupation internet entrepreneur
Known for Co-founder of Myspace
Home town Escondido, California[2]

Thomas Anderson (born 8 November 1970)[3] is the American co-founder of the social networking website Myspace, which he founded in 2003 with Chris DeWolfe.[4] He was later president of Myspace and a strategic adviser for the company until he left in 2009.[2][5] As of October 2014, Anderson is popularly known as "Myspace Tom", because, until 2010, he would automatically be assigned as the first "friend" of new Myspace users upon the creation of their profiles.

Early life[edit]

Anderson's father was an entrepreneur.[6] As a teenager at San Pasqual High in Escondido, California, Anderson was a computer hacker under the pseudonym "Lord Flathead" (friends with Bill Landreth), and prompted a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) raid after he cracked the security of Chase Manhattan Bank. He was not arrested because of his young age.[7][8]

Anderson studied English and Rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley, prior to becoming the lead singer of a band called "Swank."[6] Anderson then lived in Taiwan for some time, before returning to the U.S. to study for a degree in Critical Film Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.[4][9]


Anderson was a product tester and copywriter at XDrive, a digital storage company in 2000, where he first met DeWolfe.[9] He initially joined XDrive as a product tester after answering a flyer advertisement, while still at film school and looking to earn extra money.[10] After XDrive went bankrupt in 2001, he and DeWolfe founded direct marketing company ResponseBase.[4][9] They sold ResponseBase to Brad Greenspan's eUniverse in late 2002.[6]

With other eUniverse employees, Anderson set up the first pages of Myspace in August 2003. He founded the site partly as a reaction to Friendster, and its policy of blocking accounts that did not use real names.[11] Intermix Media was then founded as the successor of eUniverse, and it was under Intermix that Myspace garnered the level of popularity that it is notable for. When Intermix Media and Myspace were sold to News Corp, Anderson became president of the company.[4]

Myspace was sold to News Corp in 2005 for US$580 million (£361 million).[12] Following the News Corp acquisition, Anderson said: "Before [the acquisition], 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."[6] Reuters quoted an unnamed News Corp executive: "Tom [Anderson] was responsible for the product but ended up being a complete bottleneck on getting things done."[13] Anderson was replaced as president in April 2009 by News Corp;[14] by 2010, he was no longer the default friend on Myspace, and was replaced by a profile called "Today On MySpace," or "T.O.M."[15]

In late May 2012, Anderson announced that he would be joining RocketFrog Interactive as an adviser to the 16-person, Los Angeles, U.S.-based company, which created a Facebook app.[12] However, in a September 2014 interview, Anderson did not mention any advisory roles in his life at the time, while his Twitter blurb in October 2014 reads: "Enjoying being retired."[16] He explained in the interview that he is not interested in returning to his previous vocation, but concluded: "I'll never say never, because more than anything I like the idea that anything can happen. I don't know exactly where my life will lead. Adventure and the unknown has always been appealing to me."[17]

Media appearances[edit]

Anderson had a cameo appearance in the 2009 American drama-comedy film Funny People starring Adam Sandler.[18]

Personal life[edit]

Anderson is active on other social media platforms, including Facebook, Reddit, Twitter (with 226,000 followers in October 2014), and Google+ (6.56 million followers in October 2014).[19][20]

Following an experience with photography at the 2011 Burning Man festival, Anderson's interest in his own photography was piqued. In a September 2014 ABC News interview, Anderson credited friend and photographer Trey Ratcliff for facilitating his skill development, and explained: "I'm not necessarily trying to represent nature exactly. I'm trying to make something beautiful like a painter would." Anderson travels globally with friends to locations such as Thailand and Myanmar, where he primarily focuses upon landscape images.[17]

Anderson also explained in September 2014 that his personal interests have always been diverse:

If you knew me before Myspace, you'd probably thought I'd have been a scholar teaching philosophy in a university my whole life. If you met me before college, you'd probably have thought I'd be a musician for my entire life ... I like change.[17]


  1. ^ "Tom (Tom Anderson)". Retrieved 27 July 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Angwin, Julia (29 March 2009). "Putting Your Best Faces Forward". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 14 February 2010. 
  3. ^ Bennett, Jessica (27 October 2007). "Is Age Just a Number?". The Daily Beast (Newsweek). Archived from the original on 2007-10-29. Retrieved 21 December 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c d Gibson, Owen (23 June 2008). "200 million friends and counting". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 24 February 2010. 
  5. ^ Rosenbush, Steve (29 July 2005). "MySpace: WhoseSpace?". BusinessWeek. Retrieved 14 February 2010. 
  6. ^ a b c d Sellers, Patricia (29 August 2006). "MySpace cowboys". Fortune. Retrieved 21 December 2011. 
  7. ^ Arrington, Michael (30 August 2008). "MySpace Cofounder Tom Anderson Was A Real Life "WarGames" Hacker in 1980s". TechCrunch. Retrieved 21 December 2011. 
  8. ^ Gorman, Tom (11 December 1986). "A Hacker Vanishes : Computer Whiz, Missing Since September, a Source of Mystery". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 21 December 2011. 
  9. ^ a b c Penenberg, Adam (2010). Viral Loop: The Power of Pass-It-On. Hachette UK. pp. 108–110. ISBN 1-84894-524-8. 
  10. ^ Krantz, Matt (12 February 2006). "The guys behind". USA Today. Retrieved 21 December 2011. 
  11. ^ Agger, Michael (16 April 2009). "Dude, Murdoch Friended Us!". New York Times. Retrieved 21 December 2011. 
  12. ^ a b Chapman, Lizette (23 May 2012). "MySpace Co-Founder Tom Anderson Leaps To RocketFrog As Adviser". Venture Capital Dispatch Blog. Retrieved 22 July 2012. 
  13. ^ Adegoke, Yinka (7 April 2011). "Special report: How News Corp got lost in Myspace". Reuters. Retrieved 3 January 2012. 
  14. ^ Angwin, Julia; Emily Steel (23 April 2009). "Founders Step Aside at MySpace". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 22 December 2011. 
  15. ^ Nakashima, Ryan (10 March 2010). "MySpace outlines makeover after exec shake up". Associated Press. Retrieved 3 January 2012. 
  16. ^ "Tom Anderson". Tom Anderson on Twitter. Twitter. 21 October 2014. Retrieved 21 October 2014. 
  17. ^ a b c Jared T. Miller (9 September 2014). "Myspace Co-Founder Tom Anderson's New Life as a Landscape Photographer". Retrieved 21 October 2014. 
  18. ^ Errett, Joshua (19 August 2009). "MySpace walks into a bar...". Now Toronto. Retrieved 22 December 2011. 
  19. ^ Mack, Eric (19 July 2011). "What's the Deal with MySpace Tom and Google+?". PC World. Retrieved 3 January 2012. 
  20. ^ Poeter, Damon (21 December 2011). "Britney Spears First to Reach 1 Million Google+ Followers". PC Mag. Retrieved 3 January 2012. 

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