Facebook and Friendster A Comparative Study



It has been the subject of academic and business discussions, books have been written about it, and Facebook itself has been vigilant in reinventing itself that causes even more media stir. For a brand that didn’t even exist ten years ago, Facebook’s achievement is astounding and it would be interesting to watch how it will choose to evolve itself in the next couples of years. It is not the first social networking site and certainly not the only one. Many have come before it and many are still following suit. In fact, there are more than 5,000 social networking sites out there (Fletcher 2010, p89). Facebook is certainly the most successful in revenue. What many don’t know is that there is another site that was actually more successful in terms of membership and member activities when it began, Friendster. It started stronger than Facebook, twice as strong actually. Facebook took two years to achieve the total number of membership that Friendster got in six months. It still exists but it has certainly fallen below the ranks in the last five years. Facebook and many other social networking sites owe a lot to Friendster both in concept and business process. Yet, very few, if at all, have taken the pains to study the difference of these two companies. Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, has never acknowledged Friendster as an influence in Facebook but many of its business decisions are notably opposite what Friendster did. 1.2 Statement of the Problem Whether or not Facebook has taken inspiration from Friendster will never be known until Zuckerberg denies or confirm it. However, the similarities and differences about the companies have been very public and many of the business decisions the owners have made were discussed publicly. It is evident that both run on the same business concept but only Facebook remains strong. This paper will answer how Facebook managed to become more successful in terms of revenue, market share and brand positioning and how Friendster failed in what many called the greatest digital idea of the century. Research Objective This study aims compare the business strategies of two Facebook and Friendster, two of the most important Social Networking Sites. Specifically this research will answer