If you’ve been around the web for a few years, chances are good that you have an old Friendster account. I receive birthday emails and spam friend requests about once a week. (Yes, I could change that in the notification settings, or even cancel my account).
I’ve often wondered what could be keeping the Friendster servers up. The answer: the world’s largest continent. Asia, especially the Philippines, has been good to Friendster, who is by far the largest social network in Asia.
Something new must be brewing, because the company just raised $20 million according to the New York Times, and has a new CEO who formerly ran the South Asia region at Google.
You may be thinking that Friendster is stuck back in 2004 with your profile. That’s not so. The site has a developer platform with 450 applications, and has joined OpenSocial. No, Friendster doesn’t look as good as Facebook, and the apps feel even spammier, if you can imagine. But at least Friendster hasn’t just been treading water.
The last line of the NYT blog post might have more to say about why Friendster has secured some more funding. The company was granted a patent in 2006 for its work with organizing people’s relationships. Apparently there are more patents on the way for the one-time innovator. Now that there are other similar services, some like Facebook and MySpace with big money behind them, Friendster might be seeing dollar signs.