Friendster can justifiably claim its numero uno position as far as starting a hitherto unknown enterprise, the social media network. Pretenders as well serious contenders entered the fray soon after and grew by leaps and bounds leaving Friendster far behind.
Not that it collapsed altogether. It goes around as a social gaming platform and still has a significant presence in South-east Asia. This is perhaps only to be expected. It, after all, originated in Kuala Lumpur , Malaysia. However an analysis as to why it took a beating at the hands of rivals like the gargantuan Facebook is in order.
Founded in 2002, it predates Myspace by one year and FaceBook by two years. In 2011, it had a base of 115 million users. But, it experienced technical problems in 2009. The site also saw a design change. It is not exactly known why but the site was forced to see a lot of desertions. Coupled with less and less new registrations, the depleting fan base caused the site to curl up and die. People simply were not impressed by Friendster and left it well alone. When you consider the fact that Google was ready to pay $30 million in a buyout plan in 2003, you cannot but only sigh.
How has this come about?
In Zurich is the Swiss Federal Institute of technology and there work David Garcia and friends. These gents collected data that were recorded prior to the collapse and analyzed the data threadbare using digital parameters.
In their opinion, the exodus from Friendster to other social networks began when the adherents realized that they were not getting enough benefits viz-a-viz the time and efforts they were putting in. In a sort of chain reaction, if one left the network, the others connected with his account followed suit. It was not long before the network saw dwindling strength.
However, Garcia and co point out something that has helped Friendster maintain status quo with members it still had in its stable after many a horse had fled. Many friends of friends who had left had chosen to stay back in many cases. So all was not lost. Unless the cost-to-benefit ratio drops to such a level to make a large number of individuals leave, it is reasonable to believe that the existing members will remain with the website. Garcia says that the outflow started some three months prior to collapse and this was caused by the dramatic drop in the cost-to-benefit ratio.
The technical glitches and redesigning have come into focus again. One is reminded of Digg, the social news aggregator which like Friendster attempted design changes which had its effect on the cost-to-benefit ratio. The now burgeoning social media sites like FaceBook and the nascent Google+ may be covertly jittery about their prospects in the light of what happened to Friendster. Friendster’s death might have helped them learn a lesson or two about their survival. So Friendster has not only evacuated the crowded social media space but has also taught them a lesson for free.
Naomi Stillinger has managed to write a great review on Panasonic Lumix digital cameras that went viral on the web for the way things were described and paying attention to the details. She also has over 8 years of experience in managing online reputation for brands.