Remember Friendster? One of the very first social networking sites launched back in 2003 is in "definitive agreement" to be acquired by MOL Global, a Malaysian online payments company. MOL Global said it would acquire 100% of Friendster. The financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed in the announcement, but several reports are shooting out a price of $100 million.
So where is Friendster today? Not very popular here in the US, although back in 2003 it was the only social networking site I used. The site eventually was abandoned for MySpace, then Facebook and Twitter.
But today, it is a leading Web site in Asia with over 75 million registered users. 90% of its traffic comes from the region as well. Recently the company re-branded itself and added several new features geared towards the Asian youth market with what it refers to as "a focus on local relevance, fun and simplicity."
“The merger with Friendster will continue to transform the social networking industry, combining a highly intuitive and successful social media site and online marketing channel with an integrated payment platform and content network which includes games, goods, gifts, music and video. We are creating a unique company that will be well positioned to provide content to a huge, regional user base, here in Southeast Asia,” said Ganesh Kumar Bangah, president and chief executive officer of MOL.
The two entities have had a prior relationship. Back in October, MOL was appointed to provide an integrated payments platform for Friendster. The new partnership will build upon the initial products built which were The Friendster Wallet and the Friendster Gift Shop.
Friendster will maintain its office here in Mountain View, as well as various locations around the world including the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore.