Ah, it seems like only yesterday that the kids on North Maple Drive in Beverly Hills were the envy of the tech world. Riding high in their leased Audis and rockin' those first iPhones, they were the closest thing L.A. had to Silicon Valley royalty.

And now many of them are out of luck.

To say the bubble has burst at MySpace would be to announce three-year-old news. But apparently it got around to Fox Interactive Media headquarters (finally), which confirmed today that nearly half of its staff was being handed pink slips.

That's about 500 people, according to the site's CEO, Mike Jones. We're expecting many will come from its Beverly Hills HQ, although it also has offices in the South Bay.

Once the king of social networking, MySpace has become the butt of late-night jokes about sexual predators and late-adapters who haven't yet figured out that all its base are belong to Facebook.

Sad, really. MySpace had a chance. It became the go-to place for music fans in the mid-00s, and many artists still maintain a major presence there. Younger kids seem to favor it for some reason.

And the site has tried to adopt some of that Facebook mojo with streams of friend-on-friend postings and conversations. But it's still slow and glitchier than a 2002 Windows notebook.

At this rate we're wondering if Fox, which purchased MySpace at the peak of its popularity in 2005 for $580 million, will just let the thing die.

It would then become that not-so-rare thing these days — a digital ghost town.

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