Monday, January 24, 2005

The New York Times > Technology > Friendster, Love and Money

The New York Times > Technology > Friendster, Love and Money: "Google, which introduced a Friendster-style service last January dubbed Orkut, presents another challenge to Friendster. Marissa Mayer, who manages Orkut, acknowledged that it and Friendster have 'similar capabilities and similar limitations,' but she said Google had been 'blown away' by the success of the service only 12 months after it was introduced. Google still earns no revenues on Orkut, Ms. Mayer said.
Orkut began as a plaything for Silicon Valley's digerati but, oddly enough, has morphed into a site where the primary language is Portuguese. Nearly two in three registered Orkut users hail from Brazil; Americans account for only one in 11 registered users. Similarly, Friendster is wildly popular among 18 to 21 years olds living in Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines, who account for a huge portion of Friendster's most active users.
'Lots of early adapters here in the U.S. no longer have this obsessive, 12-hour-a-day obsessive interest that they did when Friendster originally hit,' said Danah Boyd, who is studying Friendster as a Ph.D. student at the School for Information Management and Systems at the University of California, Berkeley.
The problem, Ms. Boyd said, 'is they haven't built anything new that gives people a reason to spend more time at the site.'"
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