Friendster, launched in 2002 and the most popular social network pre-Myspace (2003), was said to be a bit of a template for Facebook (2004), according to founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. In an interview with the Harvard Crimson in 2004, Zuckerberg claimed that Friendster was a model for the social network he was developing, which made news at the time after ‘thefacebook.com’ registered hundreds of users overnight. The article in the Crimson is reminiscent of a piece Aaron Sorkin’s The Social Network script, though the Winklevoss brothers or Eduardo Saverin aren’t mentioned.
Zuckerberg mentions in the interview, “Everyone’s been talking a lot about a universal face book within Harvard – I think it’s kind of silly that it would take the University a couple of years to get around to it. I can do it better than they can, and I can do it in a week.” No wonder the Zuckerberg character was written as sort of a snot-nosed punk genius in Sorkin’s script. Especially since Zuckerberg had no way of knowing that his dorm room startup would come to change the internet, and making Friendster look like a mere hiccup.
Zuckerberg adds, “I’m pretty happy with the amount of people that have been to it so far – The nature of the site is that each user’s experience improves if they can get their friends to join it.” Facebook presently has roughly 901 million users – it’s safe to say the user experience has improved since 2004.
As for Friendster, the dead social network finally deleted user data at the end of May last year, and has now evolved into a social gaming platform, based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Interestingly, back in 2003, when the site was still relevant, Friendster declined an offer from Google for a $30 million buyout.
Hat tip to Mashable.