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Search-engine giant Google recently made a $30 million offer to buy Friendster, the hot Sunnyvale online dating site that lets users meet and date friends of their friends.
Friendster spurned the proposal, choosing instead to accept $13 million in fresh investments from venture capital firms, according to two VC insiders familiar with the events.
The only exit strategy i can think is some portal like Yahoo or MSN can buy it and have it as a loss leader to generate buzz/traffic (like how MSN uses hotmail!)
The one recent startup i like more than friendster is "Skype" , it has the same viral growth potential but has better monetizing possibilities and more importantly it truly changes people's lives :) .
IMHO if Google decides to buy a non-search related company then Skype is better than friendster and i think at this early stage they can buy it for penuts :)
They shoulda took the money, I say.
I read this story yesterday and my big question was, what would Google do with Friendster? Is it truly a hedge against becoming the next Netscape to MSN's Longhorn? Or something else?
They want that stuff. I still say that Custom Serps are in their future - and dating would be a perfect match for that.
Even if it isn't used for that - Social Networks is a huge and growing area of research. Very interesting stuff - like:
I can say two things about google's buys and attepted buys so far. I couldn't have guessed any of them ahead of time (that I can remember) nor did I think they made perfect sense.
The one recent startup i like more than friendster is "Skype" , it has the same viral growth potential but has better monetizing possibilities and more importantly it truly changes people's lives.
I remember hearing recently that Skype is owned by the same people that own Kazaa. You better check your machine for spyware.
I remember hearing recently that Skype is owned by the same people that own Kazaa. You better check your machine for spyware
Skype is founded by the same guys who founded Kazaa . But they sold kazaa to sherman networks years before .I think only after that kazaa began to carry spyware... The skype site says it carries no spyware.
I dont think they will be that foolish to kill such a huge potential for some quick spyware bucks :)
What if: friends=sites, invitations=links, accepted invitations=reciprocated links, networks=themes/sets... Now: What if Friendster DOES know how to calculate FriendRank better than Google does ;)
Dating business would have some hard time if Google launches "dating/personals/friends" thingy, but unfortunately I am sure that they eventually do this.
I wonder how valuable the network will be when your friends have all dated and commented on the people in your network they wanted to date (and vice versa). The beauty of traditional dating sites is that no one is commenting about you to the rest of the world.
google wants to link up search queries to a profile. i don't know how realistic it is, but "Friendster has attracted 1.8 million members since its launch last March"
You could use the toolbar and the friendster db to bring the search query and the user profile together.
[edited by: Chris_R at 12:05 pm (utc) on Nov. 19, 2003]
[edit reason] Removed specific product name [/edit]
We all know they need to diversif, as anybody with enough cash can buy the skill and intelligence to build a google-busting SE. (MS might be a cnadidate).
But if they "leverage their monopoly" a-la MS, which is one of thequickest and most effective ways to entrench yourself in a market, then they could be solid and unbeatable by the time MS arrives on the scene.
Now all goody-goody morals asside, that's gotta be at least tempting to anybody facign the MS war-machine.
<edit>Removed product name</edit>
[edited by: killroy at 12:33 pm (utc) on Nov. 19, 2003]
Search engines are a real, vibrant and valuable business because we can all make money by having them link to our e-commerce sites, even if we have to pay for it. But now the VCs are trying to jump on the bandwagon by hyping things like this. It smells like a bubble to me and I'd hate to see search engines viewed as over-hyped because of their association with jokes like Friendster.
On the other hand, if Friendster proves me wrong and works, it does make sense for Google to own. Match.com is just a search engine for dating. Friendster might become the next Match.com. Why not own it? Blogger made sense too. They're encouraging the growth of content online, which was suffering badly, so they can lock in distribution for AdSense.