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How a Social Network Dies: The Friendster Autopsy

How a Social Network Dies: The Friendster Autopsy

Friendster in 2004, as captured by the Internet Archive. Screenshot: Wired

What kills a social network? A group of internet archeologists have picked over the digital bones of Friendster — the pioneering social networking site that drowned in Facebook’s wake — and we now have a clearer picture of its epic collapse.

Friendster was once the hottest thing in social networking. Google wanted to buy it for $30 million back in 2003, but — burdened by technical glitches and a more nimble competitor in Facebook — it was pretty much dead in the U.S. by 2006. That said, it trudged along for a few more years, helped by a relatively strong following in southeast Asia. Then, around 2009, a site redesign crushed it.

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