Before Facebook became popular, majority of the Asian social networking fans spend most of their time at Friendster. In fact, I got my first taste of social networking activities through Friendster. But that’s all a bygone era now as most of my social networking friends have moved to Facebook. Still, Friendster is alive and kicking in the Asian region, trying to maintain its stronghold and refusing to surrender over Facebook. Until now.Techcrunch is reporting that the Friendster folks might be looking for buyout offers. Based on some Friendster documents being sent out to prospective buyers, it seems that Friendster is now ready to cash out if it finds a suitable offer that would value Friendster’s properties and its stronghold in the Asian social networking market.
And the reason? Friendster has been losing unique visitors. comScore’s number in May showed that worldwide unique visitors decreased from 45$ to 21 million despite maintaining a good grip of the Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines social networking market.
In the financial front, Friendster despite its massive userbase in the Asian region is still not performing well. Online ad spending is not that big in the region not only because of low spending power of users but also because online spending is still not that big in Asia compared to the U.S. Hence online ads will not save Friendster.
And why is Friendster losing userbase and new sign-ups? Of course we could not contest the fact that this is mainly because of the Facebook. But there are also other factors to consider – account spamming, lack of innovative features, among other things.
If there will be no buyers, what Friendster needs is a “re-engineering” process.There are still late bloomers in the Asian social networking space that remains untapped. These potential users don’t know about Facebook or find Facebook too complicated and intricate. Very much different from the simplicity of Friendster’s network and interface.
Who knows, it might not be too late.