According to Comscore data, the social networking site, Friendster saw a 40% increase in page views for the month of May. As you may remember, Friendster was the leader over three years ago, before losing pace to MySpace in particular and then a host of others including the new darling, Facebook. So a 40% increase is a big deal: is it too early to call it a come back, and what's beneath the numbers?
VentureBeat provides some good analysis, with a few key takeaways:
- The site has finally managed to fix the technology that had slowed its growth in 2004: Its “graph server” which allows users to see how their are linked to their friends through three degrees, and control access accordingly.
- Just as on Facebook, when a user's friend changes their status, such as adding a friend, that information gets updated on their profile. This kind of 'life' stream, has proven a reason to keep returning the site.
- Likewise, the system also defaults to sending you an email with those changes weekly — prompting you to click through to Friendster, and creating still more page views.
- More new features include a classmate function to track people you may have gone to school with, and a classified ads section.
Additionally, the site now employs one of the oldest tricks in the book: when you join Friendster, you're prompted to import from your email app's address book, so that you can see who is not already a member of Friendster and prompt you to invite them.
TechCrunch provides two further reasons to explain the site's spurt in growth. Firstly, it's now common for users to join and be active in two social networks, perhaps as a way of managing different social groups or meeting different needs. Second, don't discount world-wide growth.
There is a market place outside of the United States; only 4.53% of the world’s population lives in the United States... China will have more broadband users than the United States in the next 12-18 months and India has the largest number of English speaking people of any country worldwide. Smart startups build products that appeal to a global audience, an audience which provides a wealth of growth opportunities at much higher rates than in a mature marketplace such as the United States.