Wanna Reach the Asian Market – Use Friendster. (I’m serious)

Remember Friendster? Yeah, okay, I forgot all about them too. Only a few short years ago, it was the social networking site, even getting a few mentions in early episodes of HBO’s Entourage.

But, of course, when MySpace hit, nearly everyone migrated from the fairly poor design of Friendster to the cooler-hipper customizable spaces in Tom’s world. Then, of course, Tom sold to Rupert Murdoch and MySpace became overrun with ads so everyone moved over to Facebook, which in true web form, is now being overrun with brand-sponsored apps.

Apparently, while all of this was happening, Friendster was seeing terrific growth in Asia (per our friends at TechCrunch) and now has launched OpenSocial apps allowing developers to submit applications that will be screened and, once approved, made available for users.

A little background from Michael Arrington: Once the leading player in social networks, Friendster turned down an acquisition offer from Google for $30 million in 2003. Since then the company has been unable to keep up in American markets, but has done very well in Asia, with a reported 55 million users spanning the continent (they also make up 70% of the site’s registered users).

So, if your client is looking to connect with the Asian marketplace, it seems Friendster is the place to be and with the advent of these applications, they are making it easier than ever for brands to connect with their audience. Incidentally, according to Asia Market Research, the Asian consumer is much less put off by overt advertising within their social networking sites. So, perhaps Friendster has really found a foothold here that will pay out great dividend if major brands join in.

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