MANILA, Philippines - Say good-bye to Friendster as you know it. The first social network site is shutting down its social networking services after 9 years.
Friendster was bought by Money Online (MOL), a Malaysian company that also owns the Berjaya group of companies, from its American owners.
Last week, Friendster sent an e-mail to its users advising them to export their profiles, photos, and blogs by May 31 or these will all be history. All these will be erased to give way to the new Friendster which will be launched in a couple of weeks.
"You can't compete with Facebook. They did a good job. It's a Facebook world," said Nikolai Galicia, Friendster and MOL country manager for the Philippines.
But Galicia clarified that Friendster is not shutting or closing down. "Friendster will continue. Mag-iiba lang ang focus niya. After MOL bought Friendster, we are moving forward. The new Friendster will complement Facebook."
Friendster will retain its name but will discontinue its social network services. It will be re-launched as a social entertainment site where users will be able to play games and listen to music.
"Fifty percent of FB users don't like games. We will service the other 50 percent," said Galicia.
The Philippines has the most number of Friendster users worldwide with an estimated 20 million users.
Galicia said they understand how important Friendster is to many Filipinos. "Nine years na ang Friendster. Parang diary na 'yan."
So Friendster has created tools to easily export users' profiles, photos and blogs where these can be kept.
For instance, photos can be exported to Flickr or Multiply, and blogs to Wordpress and Blogger.
A user's Friendster profile including comments, testimonials, messages, shoutouts and treasure chests can be saved as a document. "[With] a few clicks, it can be saved like a PDF form. Forever mo na makikita ang diary mo," Galicia said.
Long time Friendster users like Anne King are sad about this new development. King said when she got the e-mail announcement from Friendster, she immediately exported her entire account. "The earlier, the better", said King.