Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Friendster plans to nuke its user data

Friendster sent an e-mail to users about a By Julianne Pepitone, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- This is the way social networks end: Not with a bang, but a "pivot."

Friendster, a pioneering social networking site launched in the pre-Facebook days of 2002, has been struggling for years to justify its continued existence. The site announced Tuesday that it will soon unveil a redesign aimed at giving Friendster a new identity -- but as part of its overhaul, it plans to erase most of the data users have stored on the site.

An e-mail sent Tuesday to registered users told them to expect "a new and improved Friendster site in the coming weeks." It also warned them that their existing account profile, photos, messages, blog posts and more will be deleted on May 31. A basic profile and friends list will be preserved for each user.

Friendster offered an exporter app on its site to let users download their content or port it to third party sites like Flickr or Multiply. Friendster didn't go in details about its new identity, but it appears to be positioning itself as a casual gaming destination.

The site collected nearly $50 million from investors over the years, but technical problems and a general failure to keep up with the times doomed it to also-ran status. Friendster's traffic and active-user count have almost flatlined. Its current owner, Malaysia Internet company MOL Global, bought the site in late 2009 for rumored $26 million price tag.

Unless Friendster is able to pull off a Phoenix-like rise from the ashes, it will be yet another casualty of the Facebook empire, which has nearly stomped out other competitors like MySpace on its path to total Internet domination. Games and other apps have exploded on the platform, giving birth to companies like FarmVille maker Zynga -- and, often, netting Facebook a share of their profits.

In an ironic twist, Facebook currently owns the patents on many social-networking features Friendster helped popularize. Facebook quietly purchased Friendster's patent portfolio from MOL last year, giving it the intellectual-property rights to inventions like connecting users within social networks, linking relationship information with outside databases, and compelling users to upload and share their own content.  To top of page

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,891.16 117.52 0.66%
Nasdaq 4,817.59 42.24 0.88%
S&P 500 2,081.43 16.13 0.78%
Treasuries 1.86 0.05 2.53%
Data as of 4:50am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 14.77 0.21 1.44%
Ford Motor Co 13.62 0.06 0.44%
Apple Inc 93.64 -0.10 -0.11%
Freeport-McMoRan Inc... 13.55 -0.45 -3.21%
Frontier Communicati... 5.44 -0.12 -2.16%
Data as of May 2
Sponsors

Sections

Johnson & Johnson has suffered a second costly court defeat over claims its talcum powder caused cancer, and that may be only the beginning. More

It's getting worse for Puerto Rico. The island defaulted on $422 million in bonds related to its Government Development Bank on Monday. Congress is currently debating an aid package for the island. More

Tech leaders Apple, Alphabet and Microsoft all disappointed Wall Street with their latest earnings reports. And that's dragged the Nasdaq back near correction territory. Is this the beginning of another huge pullback or an overreaction? More

Visa says new software will allow consumers to check out with chip cards as fast as swiping a card with magnetic strip. More