Google has been successful in many different, almost unrelated, endeavors, but one thing that it lacks is a popular social networking site. The search engine giant has, however, managed to establish an advertising deal with MySpace, and Friendster's CEO recently indicated that Google made a similar arrangement with his company.
Kent Lindstrom spilled the beans as he spoke with MarketWatch's Bambi Francisco. ("Spilled beans" seem more likely than "official statement" since neither company has issued a press release on the matter.) Friendster, writes Francisco, "is going to partner with Google to place ads on the community site and to power the search technology."
The details of the agreement haven't been made public, but Francisco believes that Google's payment to Friendster won't even approach the $900 million that it forked over for the MySpace deal. "Friendster's sub-1 million monthly unique visitors pale in comparison to MySpace," she reasons.
Others might even question the wisdom of dealing with Friendster at all, considering how poorly it has done in comparison to other social networking sites. Indeed, several months ago, Nathan Weinberg reconsidered Google's decision not to buy Friendster, and predicted what would have happened had the takeover occurred. "Friendster would still have lost just like it did without Google," he wrote. "The difference: They would have dragged down Google with them."
Francisco pointed to one reason, however, that could have motivated Google to ink the deal: "By partnering with Google, Friendster will stop using Yahoo as its search engine." After all, while the search engine companies are usually pretty civil to each other, they are competitors.