Pinoys wax sentimental about losing Friendster
Following the announcement of its service revamp after May 31, Pinoy netizens who once flocked to the pioneering social networking site remember the times and memories they shared over the site during its heyday.
Acknowledged widely as the social network that started it all, Friendster became a hub for Pinoys looking to rekindle ties with old classmates, or sustain relationships with loved ones from abroad.
"Ang friendster ang first love ko," said blogger Leny Grace Louise in post. "Pero after nung umuso na yung Facebook, Good bye, Friendster na. [But after all of it], I will miss Friendster. Ang dami kong nakilala dahil sa Friendster."
But among all the photos, blogs and shoutouts to be wiped out of Friendster's databases after its nine-year run, Pinoys seem to have a collective fondness of the testimonials—or "testi," for short—on their pages from friends and loved ones.
"oh no, ang mga testimonials ko sa friendster mawawala na due to their reformat! di ko na maalala password ko dun," said Twitter user @brattydianne.
"Enjoying myself reading all the testimonials I got in friendster. Kinda' nostalgic but fulfilling," @CrisTan23 chimed in.
@raimongonzales, on the other hand, was in shock: "OMG. I don't know how to react to these testimonials. It's like reading retreat letters online that are open to the public!"
Luckily, Friendster has given its users enough leeway to back up all their content through a Friendster Exporter application available on the site.
This spurred a mad dash of users accessing the site in hopes of saving all their precious memories before they get deleted, rendering it inaccessible at some point due to huge traffic.
The revamp was being talked about in other social networking sites so much that it even rose as the second most trending topic on Twitter as of writing time.
For most of those who had opened their accounts for the last time, Friendster has become a time capsule of old—and sometimes awkwardly embarassing—memories.
"Gonna visit my Friendster account! Will recover my old pics. Poor Friendster," @dendenguevarra said.
"I just downloaded my Friendster profile. Parang matinding pambobola yung mga testimonial sa akin, a," @necramirez joked.
"Oh, so wala nang friendster? Sayang, I wasn't able to have some copies of my hideous photos there. Remembrance din yun from my jologs days," @camilababe shared.
@nadelyntorres puts things in a wider perspective: "End of our era: our prince charming Prince William found his princess; Harry Potter is ending; Friendster is about to take its final bow."
While many users are getting all nostalgic about Friendster's demise, some may have thrown the towel a tad bit too early and are unaffected by the shutdown.
"Not affected by Friendster's issues since I deleted mine a long time ago," said @KiaSLedesma.
"I deleted my Friendster like 3 years ago. It was topnotch way back in high school though. Good times," @francelleisms added.
@DevenConcepcion, meanwhile, could only look back with regret: "I wish I didn't deactivate my Friendster (account). ang dami ko kayang testimonials and comments. plus ang ganda pa nga friendster layout ko."
Death by Facebook
Ironically enough, among the profile pages to be deleted by Friendster includes that of Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, touted as the social network that finally issued the death blow to the once-dominating site.
When Facebook and another social networking site, MySpace, rose to fame in 2004, Friendster lost majority of its North America-based users to it. It eventually found solace in Asian countries such as Indonesia and the Philippines, where it reportedly had 20 million users, its biggest user base to date.
But despite this massive popularity early on, Friendster failed to sustain user interest much less its own financial capacity.
Tech blogger Abe Olandres noted in a 2006 blog post: "Unfortunately, the number of local users has not translated into financial success for them," he posited.
In early 2005, Olandres shared, Friendster forged a deal with local classifieds site Pusit.com, giving birth to Friendster Classifieds and Friendster Ads, an attempt to monetize its large user base.
This partnership eventually gave birth to Friendster Philippines.
However, the venture didn't take off, sending the team of Friendster Philippines and Pusit.com packing their bags and walking home.
Malaysian online payment site MOL Global eventually bought Friendster in 2009, and pushed for the site's redesign to what it looks like today.
But despite the redesign, new features and a host of local activation events, Friendster still failed to woo users from vastly more popular social networking sites back into its own backyard, prompting its owners to lay the final nail on the coffin.
MOL Global officials said they are planning to revamp Friendster into a social gaming site that "aims not to compete with, but instead to complement, Facebook."
Friendster is the latest of many Internet-based companies that have recently revamped or simply folded up, some due to strategic decisions by owners, others due to overwhelming competition.
Yahoo!, for example, folded up its Geocities website hosting service in 2009 after deciding to "focus on helping customers explore and build relationships online in other ways."
Multiply, another social networking site with a large Filipino user base, recently announced its plans to metamorphose into an e-Commerce platform, pandering to its huge base of online sellers. — TJD, GMA News