Since then, Friendster has gained over half a million new users, primarily from Asia-Pacific. So far, most of their 115 million users are between 15 and 35 years of age and evenly split between male and female.
“We studied the markets and found that Southeast Asian social gamers were not as well serviced as their counterparts in more developed countries. We entered this space to provide a destination hub for gamers,” said Friendster CEO Ganesh Kumar Bangah.
The strategy, added Ganesh, was synergistic with MOL’s core business as a leading payment platform in Asia. Friendster therefore launched complete with an immediate revenue stream, unlike many other social media platforms.
“While other social media platforms build a presence first before a revenue strategy, we created an executable revenue strategy that includes immediate monetisation opportunities,” said Ganesh.
The key, he added, was to grow the ecosystem. “It’s one of our core beliefs to help developers and publishers go to market faster, scale better and monetise earlier.”
Moving forward, the company plans on building multiple revenue streams based on advertising and transaction opportunities. “Friendster will be able to leverage its family of companies such as sub-brands Friendster Hotspots and Friendster iCafe to gain revenue from more than just social gaming,” explained Ganesh.
Friendster Hotspot is a free (advertising sponsored) high-speed WiFi connection made available at every Starbucks, Oldtown White Coffee, Kenny Rogers, Wendy’s and Krispy Kreme outlet in Malaysia. Friendster iCafe is MOL’s billing management system for cybercafés.
Advertising and marketing opportunities on the platform reach beyond web-based advertising, said Ganesh. “Brands can use field marketing and new media tools to leverage on our physical products via Hotspots and iCafe. We also offer dedicated video targeting via our HotSpots, sponsored WiFi access and internet café desktop advertising.”