PROS / Friendster has dozens of games to choose from.
CONS / Most mail you receive through Friendster will be spam.
VERDICT / If you want to make friends based on your love of casual online gaming, this is the social network site for you.
Editor's Note: This review has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it no longer ranks as a top 10 product. The original review is below, but check out our current top Social Networking Websites here.
Friendster predates all of today's top social networking sites. Founded in 2002, Friendster was used for dating, music sharing and networking. In the past few years, it has been relaunched as a social gaming site. It took off early in Southeast Asia and is still monumentally popular there to this day. It splits its focus between social networking and playing online games competitively. Friendster is looking for an older crowd interesting in gaming, videos and groups.
Groups are a big focus in terms of the social network site's focus. Friendster allows you to browse and join public groups, but if you are looking to join private groups, you must first get permission from the group's creator. Instant messaging is built in to both the social media and gaming portions of Friendster and makes it easy to connect with friends while playing games. The games themselves are good for killing time and finding guilds to join and network with.
As social media sites go, this site is not visually appealing. Ads take up the right side of the page and the entire background advertises one of the featured games. You can receive notifications and inbox messages, but within a day of setting up an account, a handful of spam messages had already been sent to our inbox. While Friendster was once very video friendly, it has moved away from its focus on video uploads and sharing.
Friendster's privacy settings allow only your friends to view your full profile, while a limited profile is still accessible to other Friendster members. You can see the last 100 people who have viewed your profile and, if necessary, you can block individual members. You can also limit the continents that can see your profile. For example, if you want your profile to remain public but don't want unsolicited comments from people in other countries, you can set your profile so that only people from North America can view your profile.
If you're trying to make new friends, there is an advanced filter system. Beyond age range, gender and location, you can choose to say that you're interested in: catching the latest flick, having a friendly chat, learning a new skill and completing a marathon, among many others. This specificity tells members who click on your picture exactly what you're looking for.
Friendster is a wildly popular social network in Asia. Even with its early introduction into this competitive field, it has failed to make a splash in the U.S. It has the basic features that all social media sites need, but it focuses more on social gaming to make friends. It's a unique entry for a social service, but it isn't user friendly enough to compete with the best social network sites.