Because You Never Forget Your First

Posted: April 8, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

by Raymond Virata (from Filipinas magazine, USA)
published August 2009

Despite the worldwide economic downturn and an increasingly competitive market in the social networking sector, industry pioneer Friendster has expanded its operations in the Asia Pacific. According to an article in mis-asia.com by Zafer Anjum, the company’s staff is now mostly based in the region and 80 percent of new employees in 2009 will be based there.

While Facebook and MySpace took over the U.S. market, Friendster never keeled over; it just moved to Asia. It’s now king in the Southeast Asia region, where 89 percent of its traffic is based. (See “Friendster moves to Asia,” by Ling Woo Liu, http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1707760,00.html/). The main reason Friendster was able to establish a beachhead in Asia is because Asian Americans who caught on the social network craze in the U.S. were able to include their friends and relatives across the Pacific in their network (http://venturebeat.com/2008/06/18/ friendsters-growth-in-asia-could-make-it-the-top-social-network-in-the-world-once-again). This international connection is supported by the fact that 23 percent of an average user’s friend is in another country. Friendster is popular in the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. It has dominated the Philippines ever since its launch (http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/06/07/a-map-of-social-network-dominance).

Operating in the Philippines since 2006, Friendster expanded its staff in 2009 to strengthen its direct sales and marketing muscle. Homer Nievera, business development director for Friendster Philippines, says that the sales team “directly taps into clients as well as work with resellers in ensuring that all potential advertising avenues are tapped.” Their marketing team holds localized activities targeting their users.

“Friendster enjoys the fact that it is the pioneer in social networking in the Philippines. User experience have also been quite positive specially regarding Friendster’s user friendliness—it is easy to personalize and customize, which is a great hook among Filipinos, particularly the young user segment,” says Nievera.

Homer Nievera

Business Development, Friendster

A 20-year advertising veteran who previously worked for MSN, Nievera, “My work in Friendster Philippines is focused on getting as much revenue as we can from various sources, primarily through advertising and sponsorships. Together with marketing, mobile and even product development, our team also helps craft revenue-generating projects that are apart from direct advertising. Our team is headed by Narciso Reyes III, the Country Sales Head (Philippines), while I also partner with Paula Abjelina, senior account director-Philippines.”

The social networking site has 40 million registered Philippine-based users. On a monthly average, there are 24.4 million unique visitors, who log in three-five times a day and spend an average of 22 minutes per log-in. Almost half (48 percent) of these users are young adults (18-24 years old).

Despite the willingness of the Filipino market to jump on new trends, Filipino consumers are brand loyal, according to a consumer report by TNS Philippines. This explains why Filipinos have stuck it out with Friendster.

An Election Powerbase

To take advantage of its user clout, Friendster positioned itself at the forefront of the upcoming Philippine elections in 2010. The site will soon come out with updates and links to the national candidates that shall be made available to its users, many of whom are within the youth voting segment. This project, called SIGAW, aims to rally the youth to actively participate in the elections, just as Barack Obama’s campaign utilized social networking sites to help him win the U.S. presidency.

Pinoy Friendster Day

World Record on Largest Eyeball Meet-up

Out to prove its claim as the biggest social networking site in the Philippines (and in Asia), Friendster will be holding a Pinoy Friendster Day on August 15 at the Mall of Asia. Friendster is gunning for the Guinness Book of World Records for the Biggest Eye Ball Event in the world. The event will top-bill Rico Blanco (formerly of Rivermaya) for the concert and other big bands, plus a variety of activities including a fireworks display.

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