VCs and Friendster Are Buddies Again


Friendster has raised $10 million from new investor DAG Ventures as well as long-time funders Kleiner Perkins and Benchmark, says the Wall Street Journal. This appears to be separate from the company’s $3.1 million recapitalization round earlier this year. The social network, for all the hits it takes in Silicon Valley, has a pretty strong audience, especially in Asia. The problem is that they cannot monetize that demographic. Alexa gives it a rank of 35th overall and shows upward growth, outpacing Facebook.

Friendster’s new broad social networking patent, which came to light in July, and its ominous language about enforcement have struck fear into the social networking scene. The promise of an intellectual property edge must have helped out this round. Friendster’s high-profile VCs are obviously heartened by the momentum, and are hoping their darndest not to have the company be a black mark on their records.



I agree with Amanuel. I use “Vicinity Match” on my mobile phone and think social networking sites that serves a purpose is the way to go.


Everyone here seems to be on the same wavelength – let us hope it is not “group think”.

That aside, the MySpace and other popular youth oriented networks are great for teens and young adults, and can be monetized today via ads and sponsorships and e-commerce capabilities. I wonder what will become of them when the “craze” passes. MTV just celebrated its 25th birthday, and look how it has changed to continue engaging their core demographic. And the changes have to keep coming and more quickly as more and more competition for consumers’ time happens.

That is where niche communities should prevail – for hobbyists, people with like interests, professional networks, etc. This is simply because there then exists a reason for the consumer to spend the time on the site, and a clearly defined target market represented by the site should draw appropriate levels of ads and sponsorships or e-commerce.

So many networks have simply thrown more features and capabilities out there to try to be everything to their community member, and keep them on the site. This is becoming something akin to “bloatware” where a majority of features go unused (and therefore show no real ROI). Does anyone really use all of the features in Yahoo or Google or MSN? I tend to believe that we each use what we know and are comfortable with from a given portal. New sites may be best served by keeping things simple and providing the right features for their community, and leaving the picture sharing, auctions, etc. to the sites that are well known and do those functions best.

Darren Herman

I agree with what has been said above. The longest lasting and most effective social networks will be the micronetworks that focus on a specific niche.

The larger social networks such as Myspace will be hot for a moment and garner tons of traffic, but something else will come out with more widgets and sprockets that will yank users away. It’s like the power of luxury – you can never attain it.

Michael Lambie

Too many youth oriented social networks. I can see a need for niche networks for specific groups of people, but enough is enough for the mypace, friendster, xanga, facebooks, etc.

I think there is room for new social networks that can produce something whether it be research, new technology or some kind of progressive way of thinking. I think there are plenty of sites to meet people for friendship/mating/music etc.

Usher Lieberman

I like the poll question…”what router does that need.” It is a good question because in my mind the problem with social networks is there is no common thread connecting them outside their semi-walled gardens.

No social network is going to provide most individuals with all the connections they need or want. The networks we use have to be woven into more of a fabric, i.e. I want to aggregate my identity across them and control my identity in a single console.

That of course is the antithesis of any good social networking business model. But back to the question, its a good one because soft routers can enable what I want (aggregated identity managed centrally by me) even as significant business hurdles remain.


I couldn’t agree more Amanuel. As online communities evolve, the ones that stick will do more than connect, they’ll provide value in some way. I think the place where this will occur the quickest (actually is occuring already) is in the B2B space. and are two examples.


My key issue with most social networks has been they have no purpose beyond the ‘I have friends’ perk. I mean what can you do with MySpace beyond showing it to your friends? very little.

Any network needs to enable its users to DO something beyond connecting. Currently I have seen nice social networks that help you find a job, or your true love.

I think we will be seeing many more niche social networks that actually serve a purpose.

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