Friendster Gets a New Look, Searches for Buyers

Friendster new logo

Much love is not lost in Friendster, the pioneer website that sparked the whole social networking craze.  However, with only a few million users remaining in the United States and more people are joining the Facebook bandwagon, what does Friendster have to do?

The answer:  Screw America, we have a new market now!

Acknowledging its users from the Asia-Pacific region, who make up over 85 percent of its 115 million members, Friendster underwent a major makeover that targets its still-loyal market.

The new look is entirely fresh with a cursive logo against a green cloud.  The home page has become cleaner, which some say becomes similar to Facebook if not for the customizable color scheme.  Friendster also introduces new features like online photo editing tools and the "Friendster Wallet," a micro-payment platform that allows users to purchase Friendster-related products and services.  The latest additions include elements that other social networks have already employed such as a casual games, RSS aggregators, chat system, video players among others.

Meanwhile, the profile page still is as customizable as it used to be and it still accepts crazily-created names like adding hearts or using all caps, which the like of Facebook disallows.

But the biggest news comes from its new CEO Richard Kimber:  Friendster is up for sale.  In an interview with Reuters, Kimber admitted that majority of the potential buyers come from Asia.

"We have a shortlist at this point that we are negotiating with," Kimber said.  "Morgan Stanley has been hired to handle the deal."

Although reports claim that Friendster is being sold for more than US$100 million, industry blog TechCrunch said that Friendster could be worth at least $210 million.

One of the short-listed bidders includes Tendent Holdings, the largest Internet company in China with a market value of $35 billion.  Facebook also showed interest, but was turned down because of competition and intellectual property issues, according to reports.

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