Hi5 Helped By $20 Million In Funding

    July 23, 2007

In the past week, there have been eight WebProNews stories with the word “Facebook” in the title and five involving “MySpace.”  “Hi5” has, as far as I can tell, never been the subject of an article.  But in what’s definitely a noteworthy event, that social network just got $20 million.

Well, noteworthy to some of us, anyway – for whatever reason, Hi5 has yet to put out a press release or blog post on the matter.  Still, as reported by Om Malik, the “San Francisco-based social networking start-up is said to have raised about $20 million in its latest round of funding.”

Malik goes on to hint at why most people have never heard of this site, writing, “The company . . . started out as a social-network-plus matrimonial site targeting the Indian diaspora, but later morphed into a social network, and since then has gained popularity in some Latin American countries, Mongolia, Tunisia and Romania.”

In other words, Hi5’s not much of a hit in the U.S.

Of course, the American market isn’t the be-all and end-all of social networking – Orkut, for example, is doing all right without us.  And speaking of a Google property, there’s a strange similarity between Hi5 and Google.

“My sister-in-law found her mother after 34 years of searching by using Google,” according to a testimonial from “Laurie M.” in Google’s Press Center.  “I just thought you’d like to know you helped us find our mom!”

That account’s been there for a while – I’ve often wondered why Google doesn’t update or delete it.  Now, in Hi5’s “About Us” section, “Nathan, Belize” states, “Thanks to hi5 I was able to talk to my mother for the first time in 25 years . . . it was the sweetest joy to finally hear each other’s voices.”

Coincidence?  I dunno.  Malik writes, “If you look at this social networking map of the world, one finds that there are quite a few international-only players.  Someone like Google or Yahoo should attempt a large scale consolidation – or at least that is what Hi5’s backers must be hoping for.”  Perhaps Nathan’s testimonial is a nudge from Hi5.