by Tap Vann
NEW YORK – Friendster, the once dominant social network announced it’s shutting down on May 31st.
Users have until May 31 to export their data from the site, at which point Friendster will focus on “entertainment and fun.”
Many of you have probably already deleted your Friendster account or forgot that you even had one. But if there are some photographs or profile posts from 2003 that you’d like to preserve, Friendster has an exporter tool that will extract photos, messages, comments, testimonials, shoutouts, blogs, forums, and groups. You can download the data or post it to third-party sites like Flickr or Multiply, Friendster said.
“We are introducing a new and improved Friendster in the coming weeks that will be focused on entertainment and fun,” Friendster said on its forums. “There will be new features that will leverage on your online activities and will enable you to connect with friends or engage new friends with similar interests.”
As a result, your Friendster account will not be deleted on May 31, but the company will only save your list of friends and basic profile information. Everything else? Gone.
Friendster had few specific details about what the revamped site will feature except to say that “our improved site is designed to create new profiles that allow you to connect differently with people and do things differently than other networking sites.” The new and improved Friendster “will complement your existing online presence in other social networking sites,” which likely means Facebook.
In December 2009, Friendster was sold to MOL Global, two months after Friendster and MOL teamed up for an online payments platform. But Friendster hasn’t really had a big impact on the world of U.S. social networking for some time, focusing most of its efforts in Asia. In January 2010, it partnered with Yahoo Southeast Asia, and launched a music and games portal in Asia in September.
Initially Friendster lost some ground to MySpace, but that site also recently gave up on the social-networking space in favor of music and entertainment. News Corp. is trying to rid itself of MySpaces, but so far, no buyers.
Facebook, meanwhile, has reportedly reached 600 million users worldwide and shows no signs of slowing down, hosting President Obama last week for a town hall on the economy and launching a Groupon competitor, Facebook Deals.