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The ''Failed'' Websites That Happen To Be...

By: Andrew Goodman
2007-09-17 the Very Top Few Websites in the World. Facebook's in trouble if they hold their "poker hand" too long. Or so say smarmy analysts... the press worried that the "fate" of Facebook may resemble that of the "failed" Friendster and the "who cares anymore!?" Orkut of Google origins.

The thing is, those who own these companies have long stopped caring what analysts say. No wonder they plan to cash out at only appropriate valuations, or just keep running these communities as they continue to grow and develop.

Caveat: you'll have to believe the Alexa numbers - Alexa gives me the prettiest graph on demand (see below). I believe these numbers when the ranks are below 100 or so. Especially when they are below 10! (When you're in the top 10 or 20 websites on the planet, who's counting?

"Failed" Friendster is, admittedly, only in the top 100 or so websites in the US. Its regional strength ("but" 9 out of 10 users are in the Asia Pacific region, says a news story) in the Asia Pacific Region puts it in the top 10, or even top 3, sites in several countries.

Forgotten Orkut is still the #1 website in Brazil. Weird, but I've heard of worse fates. It's also in the top 5 in India and Pakistan. It's in the top 50 in the US.

I could go on, but I think you see the point. Social networking is hot, and what the press call risks, or also-rans, or failed, are not only doing well, they're doing incredibly well - just not always on the same timetable, or with the same founders, or in the same places, as planned.

So, Friendster's "decision not to sell" (for the $30 mil Google supposedly offered) is touted as "one of the biggest blunders in Internet history." Moreover, the current valuation is pegged by at least one pundit at $1.5 million (?). While it's certainly too bad that Friendster was ahead of the curve and had frequent outages, and too bad that Jonathan Abrams was shoved out, the broader point is: the present ownership of this class of sites is playing their cards right. Hang on. You're worth it.


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About the Author:
Andrew Goodman is Principal of Page Zero Media, a marketing consultancy which focuses on maximizing clients' paid search marketing campaigns.

In 1999 Andrew co-founded, an acclaimed "guide to portals" which foresaw the rise of trends such as paid search and semantic analysis.

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