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Does Friendster profit from the Philippine mobile market?




Om noticed that Friendster is gaining some momemtum recently. I checked Friendster’s AdBrite stats and it indicates an average 11 Million pageviews per day from 510,000 uniques with majority of the traffic still coming from the US then followed by the Philippines and Malaysia. He thinks this growth/popularity still cannot be monetized and asks “What if Friendster could work with a local mobile company in Phillipines, and did a Friendster MVNO?

A Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) is a mobile operator that does not own its own spectrum and usually does not have its own network infrastructure. Instead, MVNO’s have business arrangements with traditional mobile operators to buy minutes of use (MOU) for sale to their own customers.


As far as I can remember, there’s Friendster Mobile which has been available about a year ago thru Globe Telecoms and Smart Communications. Users are
charged Php 2.00 to Php5.00 per message (~$USD0.04 – $0.10). The revenue sharing between the telco and Friendster would still be in the area of 60% and 40%, respectively.

But does it work (read: earn)? I don’t think so. Even at that rate, it’s pretty damn expensive to use Friendster Mobile than just going to the net cafe and spend Php25.00 an hour to surf. Besides, I suppose these Friendster users would rather use the load credits to directly text chat their Friendster buddies.

Meanwhile, Friendster Classifieds is still looking for a good business model.



Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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6 Responses

  1. Migs says:

    I don’t think the local cellcos are set up to host MVNO’s. The only thing close I can think of is the ABS-CBN “Kapamilya” SIM from Globe.

  2. luis says:

    Friendster Mobile is really just an ancillary service and is never going to be a major revenue stream for Friendster (or the host cellco). The only thing that ever really works for sites like Friendster is advertising, and when they hit the big time 2 years ago, they should’ve immediately put all their energies into building their own ad system to augment (or possibly replace) the Adsense and Adbrite stuff. The great thing about social-networks is that you immediately have tons of information on what your users are interested in, and can therefore connect on a much deeper level than any third-party contextual advertising could ever do. (Contextual ads can only see a specific page, whereas you — and i mean Friendster here — could see the totality of a user’s activity throughout the site and serve ads accordingly.)

    Pusit.com is in the process of building an ad platform like this right now, but i don’t think it’s something that will be rolled out internationally. the obstacle to selling online advertising in the philippines is that conversion-rates are severely limited by the fact that we rarely make purchases online, so marketers are hard-pressed to use the system for anything other than page impressions.

  3. yuga says:

    I think that’s Friendster Mobs with a business model akin to Chikka for the web.

  4. Lex Bush says:

    Philippines is the number 1 text country in the world, they love texting, for sure any media can benefit from it too.

  5. Migs says:

    This is also a test if web-based services can push mobile content. Historically, mobile content has been marketed through broadcast (“spam”). That has had a crackdown lately and I hear it hurt the revenues of the leading mobile content providers.

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