TechCrunch has the Exclusive:
Friendster, one of the oldest social networks, is actively looking for a buyer and has hired investment bank Morgan Stanley to find a party interested in acquiring the company or at least some of its assets.
According to documents obtained exclusively by TechCrunch, it looks like Morgan Stanley is shopping Friendster around in Asia, which makes sense considering almost its entire user base is located in the Asian-Pacific region. In the main document (embedded below), it says that 75 percent of its registered accounts are in Asia. The docs come from a credible source, are time-stamped ‘July 2009′ and carry a number of interesting nuggets about the influence Friendster still has in the social networking sphere, even if mostly in Asia.
When you compare social networks such as MySpace with Facebook with Friendster it’s important to see the differences, not the similarities. So for example, Facebook is a distribution network, with gated communities but doesn’t offer the average user the ability to build a broadcast network of 300,000 friends. MySpace is a publishing network with broadcast channels, but no inbuilt audience.
And while you are comparing them, think about evolution.
- We started by creating content, in depth, videos and photos and blog articles. But we didn’t have a distribution channel. SEO helped, emailing friends helped, linking to other bloggers hoping they would find us that way and read our blog and link to us helped. Anything depth of content sits here – YouTube videos, MySpace blogs, Flickr photos, and so on. There is still a place for depth of content sites.
- Then came Facebook, the distribution network. We could post links to our blog there, and it would appear in newsfeeds. Digg, Delicious, others are distribution not content channels. You don’t blog on Digg, you point to a blog. Distribution networks are important for aggregating people around a Value or Purpose, and then feeding them media links.
- Then Twitter. We move from asynchronous, delayed communications to synchronous, live communication. And distributed – Australia forgets that for the rest of the world, Twitter is primarily a mobile service. Real time conversations are critical for developing an understanding of current thinking. Trending topics is a classic… who doesn’t monitor those for latest news?
So where does Friendster sit in this evolutionary path of social networks? Depends on where they take it next I guess. I still think there is a bridge between Asia and the West. If not Cyworld, if not Friendster, which network?