On December 10, 2009, the Wall Street Journal published an article that "Malaysia-based MOL Global Pte. Ltd. has agreed to acquire all of Friendster Inc. ... MOL Global is an affiliate of unlisted MOL AccessPortal Berhad, a company that operates and develops payment systems. MOL's main shareholder is Berjaya Corp. (3395.KU) Chairman Vincent Tan"
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Friendster aims to make other social networks such as MySpace, Facebook, Hi5, Orkut, and Tagged look like "a day at Grandma's knitting sweaters and doing word searches." It is more about "connecting smiles."
I have a friend named Iris in Singapore who chatted with me on Google Talk about how much fun she thinks Friendster is. She mentioned last week that she thought a Singaporean or Malaysian company would probably buy it out, it is so popular in those two areas. She is an online wholesale jewelry seller.
So I started researching Friendster...
Friendster representatives stated in their PR video that the redesign has a goal to put more emphasis on what is important, simplicity, fun and personal meaningfulness. Friendster showed a sneak peak of their new website setup, kind of a mix of the best of MySpace and Facebook. The characters in the video all have an Asian appearance. They are holding a Mac laptop. (Interesting. I always notice things like that.)
Friendster started up in 2001 (two years after our Super Technologies did), but it has raised $45 million plus in venture capital as of December, on some certain day in 2009. It is most popular in the the APEC (Asian Economic Pacific) region with over 90% of its membership based in Asia.
(Consider attending PTC, Pacific Telecommunications Conference, January 17-20, 2010 in Hawaii to meet some of its business users. Our company's DIDX and Techistan are media partners. I'll be there and also at ITEXPO scheduled Jan. 20-22, 2010 in Miami same week as media partner, exhibitor and presenter. Don't ask me how, but I have already arranged it. Would not miss either one. )
The top ten countries visiting Friendster as of December 2009 according to Alexa are Philippines, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Indonesia, Qatar, South Korea, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Canada. The top 10 countries accessing Friendster, according to the same site, as of May 2009 were the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, the United States, Singapore, China, Japan, Saudi Arabia and India. USA, China, Japan and India dropped off the list. Where did they go? That's another story line.
We again used Alexa to do a traffic rank comparison for the last month, on December 10, 2009, among Myspace, Facebook, Hi5, Orkut and Friendster. Traffic rank from highest to lowest is Facebook steady and at the top, MySpace, Hi5 steady, Orkut next but steady with Hi5 in the last 15 days, and Friendster last with small fluctuations in the last quarter.
The site is available in English, Tagalog, Malay, Vietnamese, Thai, Bahasa (Indonesian), Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Spanish.
Its headquarters are in Sydney, Australia and Mountan View, California. They have over 115 million registered users and over 61 million unique visitors.
It's new CEO as of 2008 is Richard Kimber. He was head of Google's Southeast Asia sales region. Potential buyers for Friendster have been a company goal starting the summer of 2009.