Popping The Friendster Bubble

from the well,-it's-about-time... dept

Well, it seems that the mainstream press isn’t swallowing all the Friendster hype either. While we have been expressing our concerns about the space, much of the mainstream press has bought the bubble-like story of how Friendster is the next big thing. Business Week, though, has taken a step back from the hype to see if there’s any there there in all this hype about Friendster. The reporter comes to the conclusion that it’s a “classic case of Valley disconnect”, where many of the folks going gaga over Friendster haven’t actually thought it through beyond the fact that plenty of people have signed up to use the service. The article suggests (unlike Friendster’s claim) that friends aren’t necessarily the best people for finding dates. More importantly, it notes the problems with make friendships explicit, since many people feel obligated to say someone is a friend, rather than explicitly exclude them. As one person says in the article: “I’ll get friend requests from people I haven’t spoken to in over a year. It’s hard to say no, so you don’t, and maybe you catch up a little. But eventually you realize there’s a reason I haven’t spoken to that person, and that’s because I didn’t need them in my life.”

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Comments on “Popping The Friendster Bubble”

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Director Mitch (user link) says:

It's Lame

College roommate invited me to join and due to the articles on THIS site I decided to join to see what all the noise was about (see how influential you are?)

My first (and lasting) impression is that it is essentially a place for 20 somethings with piercings to get laid. Since I am out of my 20s, have no piercings and have a Mrs. Director, I decided to quit after exploring it for a few days (I tried to tailor my interest to business, doing a start-up, etc., but that was a waste of time).

So as a business, I don’t get it. Yeah, it has a lot of people, but how many would pay for it? What’s the revenue model (not even to mention the profit model). Why are VCs pouring money into a free dating service?

Mike (profile) says:

Re: It's Lame

Yeah, maybe I don’t get it because I’m not looking for a date either, but even if I was, I don’t see how I’d ever pay for it. If I see someone my friend knows, wouldn’t I just… ask that friend? I’m not going to pay just to use my own social network.

As for business uses, look at LinkedIn, as well. I can see (a little) how that has some potential – but again don’t see the business model. So far, I’ve had a few people make connections “through” me, but they were incredible weak connections that were probably worth the nothing that people paid to make them.

As I’ve said before, the people who provide the real value to such a system – the real “hubs” of social networks are the least likely to find value out of the system and the least likely to use them. The ones who need it most are those who don’t have the connections. Thus, it’s a system for subsidizing the connections of the unconnected by using the work of the ultra-connected. Most ultra-connected people I know prefer to protect their rolodex than give it out to people who haven’t been able to build their own network yet.

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