Friendster was founded in 2002 by Jonathan Abrams, and is viewed
as being one of the earliest social networks. Friendster was launched
a year before Myspace, and two years before Facebook; it is generally
accepted that Friendster inspired the creation of these services
and is therefore a pioneering concept and website. Jonathan Abrams
founded Friendster as a private company that received funding from
a range of investors. From 2002-2007, Friendster received over $20
million in funding, and received a number of buyout offers; most
notable from the search engine Google, which went on to create it's
own social networking service: Google+. Friendster's name was inspired
by Napster; the leading file sharing service when Friendster was
launched in 2002.
Friendster was a successful social networking website: from 2002-2004,
over three million users created a Friendster account. While Friendster
was the leading social networking website in 2002 and 2003, it's
popularity was soon superseded by Myspace, and then by Facebook.
However, while Friendster failed to compete with Myspace and Facebook,
it continued to trade as a social networking service until 2011.
From 2004-2009, the funding that Friendster received helped to develop
a range of new features: widgets for user profiles; fan profile
pages; OpenSocial support; settings for Japanese and Chinese users.
Friendster was successful in attracting users in East Asian counties:
Philippines, Pakistan, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Malaysia, India, Singapore
and Thailand. With over 100 million users in these countries, it
was attractive to Asian investors and buyers, and Friendster was
sold in 2009 to MOL Global. MOL Global was incorporated in Malaysia
in 2000, and is a leading Asian Internet company. Listed on the
NASDAQ stock exchange on the 9th October, 2014, MOL Global own and
operate a range of Internet based services. In 2011, MOL Global
changed Friendster into a social gaming website; due to it's prior
experience with launching widgets in 2006. As of 2015, Friendster
is still operating as a social gaming website, and is believed to
have over 12 million registered accounts.