I was a Friendster user from a few years back, it was when Social networks were starting to boom and it was the so called web 2.0 era. But today, as people were saying that its the death of web 2.0, one of the starters of that era is also dying. Whereâ€™d they go wrong?
Friendster started out being the known pioneer in the Social networking industry, they were like the Facebook of today, dominating and was leading with millions of users from around the world. I remember the first time I heard about it, I was totally amazed of how the system was built with lots of users contributing to the web and sharing information. It was the enjoying the center of attention as the innovator and the biggest thing in social history. Then today, as I was reading the news by TechCrunch which has finally said that Friendster was looking for a buyer with a traffic of around 21,000,000 visitors monthly and with 100 million (active and inactive) members which means that they have so much inactive accounts. Hereâ€™s some factors I believe they went wrong (aside from the web 2.0 monetization problems):
The number one reason I believe people started hating them was the fact that they allowed too much personalization. People were designing their wallpapers which made their User Interface look really ugly. Some were having dark backgrounds that it made the page unreadable and unpleasant. Facebook solved this by maintaining a control over majority of the User Interface and gave users a little room for personalization. Itâ€™s about uniformity and usability.
Focused on Social Networking Patents
One of the things that I really hated, when I heard on the news, is that they were trying to get the patent for Social Networking which would make other Social Networks pay them royalties. At that time, we were in the open source period where things were becoming free and open for everyone. If they focused on doing something else like improving their features, User Interface, monetization, generally building a better product or just innovating this couldâ€™ve been a whole new story.
Some Functions just didnâ€™t work right
I went back to use Friendster to promote my company there, and as I wanted to join groups, it was always redirecting me to the wrong place and was giving me errors. Why those features was there was to promote interaction and if people cannot interact properly they were bound to switch right? If theyâ€™d just focused on that, it wouldâ€™ve given them a little boost.