Friendster : Wallflower at the Web Party
October 15, 2006 8:45 PM   Subscribe

Friendster : Wallflower at the Web Party via
posted by Afroblanco (27 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
“They were talking about the next thing. Voice over Internet. Making Friendster work in different languages. Potential big advertising deals. Yet we didn’t solve the first basic problem: our site didn’t work.”
posted by Afroblanco at 8:49 PM on October 15, 2006


For all sad words of tongue or keyboard, the saddest are these, "I might have been a billionaire".
posted by Cranberry at 8:52 PM on October 15, 2006


Kent Lindstrom, now president of Friendster, said the board failed to address technical issues that caused the company’s overwhelmed Web site to become slower.

Every day or two for a month I tried to do anything more than log in and couldn't. Never went back.

Scale or die.
posted by solid-one-love at 8:59 PM on October 15, 2006


Metafilter: "I might have been a billionaire."

----

Actually, MySpace beat Friendster for two major reasons, not just one:

1) The site worked, and
2) Mid-twenty something Western girls really, really like custom profiles.

From #2 flowed the "MySpace Ecosystem". It's not just #1.
posted by effugas at 9:04 PM on October 15, 2006


2) Mid-twenty something Western girls really, really like custom profiles.

If this is true, the one of MySpace's greatest strengths is also one of its greatest weaknesses. From what I can tell, custom profiles are the #1 most common complaint about MySpace. I've even heard people say that they prefer Facebook because it *doesn't* include that feature.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:16 PM on October 15, 2006


It's not a real weakness, though. It attracts some people strongly, and while other people may complain, it's not annoying enough to prevent them from using the site (because that's where their animated-gif-loving friends are).
posted by the jam at 9:25 PM on October 15, 2006


Ironically friendster actually works now. it's also pretty nice compared to the cesspool that is myspace. Ah well, cest la vie.
posted by delmoi at 9:32 PM on October 15, 2006


THE venture capitalists reconstructed the board — “I took all the 50-year-old white guys off,” said Mr. Siegelman, who is white and 44

LOL.
posted by delmoi at 9:45 PM on October 15, 2006


How else would you know which of your friends have poor taste if their social netwokring profile forced a uniform look onto them?

Let them out themselves, I say.
posted by Space Coyote at 9:46 PM on October 15, 2006


This is simple. The success of massive social networks (and by that I mean NOT nerd-centric communities), is based on the same principle of popular bars and clubs:

Ladies Night.

It's a social anything first. Facebook? Gigantic network of college women. Myspace? Yeah, female-friendly. It's what I call the inverse Scarface principle: First you get the women, then you get the power, and then you get the money.

I can't believe nobody's figured this shit out yet.
posted by Stan Chin at 9:52 PM on October 15, 2006 [2 favorites]


The load problem was also Fotolog's real downfall. The site kept going down from the load; it got too hard to get anything uploaded. When Flickr came along, most of the hardcore Fotolog users defected.

Now, Fotolog is pretty dang fast, but it's mostly Brazilians.
posted by dw at 9:58 PM on October 15, 2006


Stan: Women don't want a clam fest any more then guys want a sausage fest.
posted by delmoi at 10:03 PM on October 15, 2006


The real secret for social networking sites is "you go where your friends go". Anything else is secondary.

PS. Anytime someone points to MySpace's crazy profiles as its secret sauce I'm glad I can point to facebook and say "but there's another way too" ;)

Stan Chin, I don't quite agree with the Ladies' Night Thesis (ie. make something women-friendly and the men will follow). But maybe, being a proponent of that, you'd agree with a thesis I veer closer to—JWZ's:
"Your "use case" should be, there's a 22 year old college student living in the dorms. How will this software get him laid?"
posted by Firas at 10:12 PM on October 15, 2006


I've always had better business/more money when there were more females than males in the bar/restaurant.

More flies with honey...
posted by erskelyne at 10:26 PM on October 15, 2006


Oh man, Facebook (which I recently joined at the behest of my girlfriend who refuses to join myspace) is like the '06 Audi A3 to myspace's '96 Dodge Neon. The code is so luxurious.
posted by sklero at 11:42 PM on October 15, 2006


Did I just miss it, or is the "chief of engineering" who actually made it finally work completely anonymous in this article? Also, am I a big fat geek if I'm really curious what technology they used that didn't scale, and what they did to fix it?
posted by surlycat at 3:02 AM on October 16, 2006


I use SVN for my social networking needs because I want friends who are willing to commit. It's also nice to be able to rollback to an earlier working version of a relationship.
posted by srboisvert at 4:03 AM on October 16, 2006 [1 favorite]


find / -group friends

posted by furtive at 4:50 AM on October 16, 2006


Ok, two things. First, why do people make a big deal when it takes 40 seconds for a page to load? There is more things to life people. Myspace isn't that great either. It breaks down a lot, I get error messages all the time on there. It's a great social tool, but it has become the must have item of the year. This annoys me to no end. Rolling Stone profiled the woman with the most friends on there, and she said she was on friendster, but they kicked her off. She went and joined Myspace, and she was number one on there. What is this culture coming to, if were focusing on our Myspace status? It irks me to no end how obsessed we have become with this silly site. What happened to talking face to face? Now were laughing at Friendster because it isn't Myspace? What happened to caring about real issues out there?
posted by wheelieman at 6:00 AM on October 16, 2006


First, why do people make a big deal when it takes 40 seconds for a page to load?

Dude, are you serious? If something takes more then 30 seconds to load, I usually assume that it's broken and leave it the hell alone. 40 seconds is an unacceptable response time. Especially when Brand X down the road has a site that runs at a normal speed, and your friends are already making accounts there.
posted by Afroblanco at 6:06 AM on October 16, 2006


"First, why do people make a big deal when it takes 40 seconds for a page to load?"

I don't know where you live but here in the developed world we are no longer using smoke signals, big drums, 1200 baud modems, or carrier pigeons for data transport. Most web pages load in 2 to 4 seconds. Taking ten times as long has been shown over and over again to exceed nearly everyone's patience.

Most of the usability results I've seen show the user impatience level spiking at ten seconds. Holding out for forty? That's unrealistic in the extreme.

"It irks me to no end how obsessed we have become with this silly site."

I have no objection to your other point, however. Cheers!
posted by majick at 8:22 AM on October 16, 2006


Look, my point is, Slow Down. 40 seconds of your life isn'r that important. You can do other stuff while that page is loading. I think our culture is obsessed with time, and spending it wisely. I think the most wisest way to use it is to slow down and not worry about time.
From Afroblanco
If something takes more then 30 seconds to load, I usually assume that it's broken and leave it the hell alone. 40 seconds is an unacceptable response time.
Why? Because we are in a hurry too much.
posted by wheelieman at 8:41 AM on October 16, 2006


You can do other stuff while that page is loading.

I can think of better things to do then visit a site whose producers have so little respect for my time that they want to make me wait 40 seconds for a single page to load.

I think our culture is obsessed with time, and spending it wisely.

Hey man, time is the one thing we can't possibly get more of. I can't think of anything more valuable.

It irks me to no end how obsessed we have become with this silly site.

I get what you're saying, but there's more at stake here then just a silly website. Friendster is now being used in business schools as a case study in "what not to do."

What's the difference, you may ask, between a site that takes 40 seconds to load a page, versus a site that only takes 4? $580 Million. That's the difference.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:48 AM on October 16, 2006


Look, my point is, Slow Down. 40 seconds of your life isn'r that imporant. You can do other stuff while that page is loading.

Because splitting your attention in thrity-second increment hops between mental tasks is such a good idea?
posted by Karmakaze at 10:53 AM on October 16, 2006


Ask me to go to a museum and sit in front of a painting for an afternoon and I'll agree with you about giving time and patience to life's gentler moments; apply the same reasoning to a dot com site that mines personal data from me for advertising revenue and suddenly you completely lose me.

Friendster is not a freaking poem, man. It's a business. It wasn't load time that killed it - it was deleting people's profiles for being silly (a profile of a muppet, or a cat, for example) and other square hall monitor shit. Friendster was a website that threw a great party and then screamed and shrieked once a few people showed up to spike the punch.
posted by Peter H at 11:19 AM on October 16, 2006 [1 favorite]


I use SVN for my social networking needs

I2 Analyst's Notebook: when your friends are really hard to find.
posted by scalefree at 3:43 PM on October 16, 2006


I met my bride-to-be through Friendster so I won't hear a word said against it, but that was back in 2003 and it was clear even then that the site was fighting a battle it was losing, even though the foe wasn't clearly visible. We'd both deleted our profiles by mid-2004.
posted by Hogshead at 3:15 AM on October 17, 2006


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