Tale of Two (Social Networking) Sites

The social networking arena is poised for a shakeout. Consider the fortunes of two sites: The Facebook and Friendster.

The Facebook, a popular college social networking site, just raised $13 million for expansion from 800 to all 1,400 four-year colleges in the U.S. Friendster, the site that arguably defined the space, just fired its CEO Scott Sassa who was touted as bringing entertainment credentials and a business model when he joined only a year ago.

Taek Kwon, the former EVP of Citysearch, is going to be the new CEO. (Kwon joined Citysearch only a year ago.) Unless he's a genius and/or Friendster does some radical things, the site appears to be sinking.

According to Nielsen, Friendster, which claims to have 16 million members, had less than 1 million uniques in May, whereas MySpace, which competes for the same youth demographic, had more than 8 million visitors.

In social networking, critical mass is crucial. In this fickle youth market, there's something of a herd mentality. And where Friendster is concerned, it appears the herd has moved on.

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