Friendster, the social network that preceded Facebook and MySpace, is being dismantled.
Although the service will live on, users are now being prompted to back up photos, blogs, comments and groups. On May 31, Friendster will delete all this information in preparation for a relaunch. Friends lists and basic profile information will be rolled into the new service, TechCrunch reports.
Friendster plans to reinvent itself as a hub for games, music and other entertainment. If that sounds familiar, it’s because MySpace tried to do the same thing after Facebook became the world’s dominant social network. News Corp. is now looking for a buyer to take the relaunched MySpace off its hands.
Friendster’s situation isn’t quite the same, because the company is no longer a serious presence in the United States. After losing out to Facebook and MySpace, the network found new life in Asia, and was purchased by MOL Global, a Malaysian payments company, in late 2009. MOL Chief Executive Ganesh Kumar Bangah confirmed Friendster’s social entertainment aspirations to ZDNet last week.
But back in the United States, Friendster will always be remembered as the social network that fell flat. Unlike Facebook and MySpace, Friendster never succeeded at making social networks seem cool to a mass audience. Holdouts (like me) passed it by and jumped on the Facebook trend in college. As Facebook carefully opened its network to new demographics, Friendster got left behind. Now, it’s finally time for old users to pack up and go.