Thursday, July 30, 2009

Friendster. I sort of remember.

I never used Friendster myself, but I wrote about it back in 2004, when they fired Joyce "Troutgirl" Park. I doubt that Park's firing was the final nail in the coffin for Friendster, but I certainly didn't see a surge of popularity afterwards.

But now it's 2009, and the Los Angeles Times reports that Jonathan Abrams is adopting a "been there, done that" attitude.

Before the founders of a little-known social network called ConnectU cried foul about Facebook stealing its ideas, MySpace was replicating then-top network Friendster, according to Friendster founder Jonathan Abrams.

"I don't think there's anyone who has had their stuff copied more than me," Abrams said over lunch in San Francisco recently....

[Abrams] soon learned that being first doesn't necessarily mean you'll come out on top....

Coping with the torrent of growth in 2004, Friendster replaced the shaky computer systems that had been running the site with "worse technology," Abrams said.

Ah, NOW in 2009 you can publicly say that there were problems with Friendster's internal systems. But to be fair, Abrams can't necessarily be blamed for Park's firing, since Abrams himself was dumped as CEO.

In Abrams' view, Friendster was done in by a combination of the technical issues, and MySpace's duplication of the FriendSter model.

"MySpace was basically saying, 'Hey, we copied it. And our site works. So, use us instead,' " Abrams said.

Oh, and despite my negative comments at the top of this post, I have to admit that Friendster is not dead:

The company is currently looking at ways to continue to grow its product in the Philippines and parts of Asia, where it's still relevant.
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