August 05, 2008 |
Big news today is that Friendster got a new CEO and a substantial investment. You thought Friendster was dead already? Think again, it actually seems to have big plans for the future. I thought Friendster was long forgotten myself and after a quick search today I found that we only had one (!) post in the 2 years of Profy existence dedicated to Friendster only. But no matter how long ago we forgot Friendster, today the pioneer in social networking reminds us of its existence with the big news.
First of all, the new investment round of $20 million led by IDG Ventures. The second announcement is new CEO joining Friendster – Richard Kimber who used to serve as the regional managing director of South Asia in Google. And the fact that he specialized in this region is not accidental – the company has emphasized the fact that Asia is its largest market and the social network receives 33 million monthly unique visitors from the region – reportedly twice as much as any other social network. And this is exactly the audience the new CEO is going to target – Asia is a rapidly growing market and a very appealing one at that.
We spoke about how US-based social networks may be unwanted abroad only yesterday but today's news proves that this is not 100% true – at least not for Friendster who has managed to receive immense popularity in Asia after it failed in the US.
As Peter Kafka mentions, Friendster is a great case study for how any once hot social network may eventually be forgotten if it does not manage to capitalize on its success. But it looks like Friendster still has all the chances to succeed: even if it is not even planning to try to improve the things in the US now.
Now on to my initial question in the title of this post. Should I actually create an account on Friendster now that we have a proof that the social network is not dead? You know, I don't really think I should. The investment is fine, the ex-Googler as a new CEO is great but they are not planning to target me since I don't belong to South Asia. And social networking does not really make sense unless you have people to network with on this or that particular site. And while I am happy to see this second birth of Friendster, I'm quite comfortable taking a detached view anyway – after all, it is not exactly a must to participate in every single success story to help it grow.