Friendster today is a social gaming site based out of Malaysia, and it continues to grow in popularity throughout Asia. Before switching its focus to being a social gaming site, Friendster was one of the pioneer social networking sites.
Friendster began in 2002 and the site was launched in 2003 by Jonathan Abrams and Peter Chin in California. Its name is a combination of "friend" and Napster, as at the time Napster was the name of the well-known peer-to-peer music sharing service. Friendster saw an amazing amount of success from the beginning, and Friendster was featured on magazine covers and news organizations around the world. In 2003 Google offered to buy Friendster for $30 million, but the offer was turned down. Some consider this to be one of the biggest mistakes in Silicon Valley. Friendster was launched a year before MySpace and two years before Facebook, and it was considered the top social networking site until it was overtaken by MySpace in 2004.
Friendster paved the way for many other social networking sites and contributed many of the key concepts that make up sites such as Facebook and Twitter today. The founder of Friendster claims that he pioneered friend requests, and the site was one of the first to feature personal profiles, feature photos and feature many of the same things that can be found on social networking sites today. The founder of Friendster claims that when MySpace started offering much of the same services that Friendster had been offering, but built in such a way that the site worked better, more people were willing to switch over to that site.
In 2009 Friendster was acquired by MOL Global of Malaysia for nearly $27 million. In June 2011 the company repositioned itself into a social gaming site with a focus on entertainment and fun. The site's redesign is meant to complement Facebook rather than to compete with it. The site has seen amazing growth since changing its focus to Asia and turning into a gaming network.