Case | HBS Case Collection | September 2006 (Revised February 2007)

Friendster (A)

by Mikolaj Jan Piskorski and Carin-Isabel Knoop

Abstract

In January 2006, the president of Friendster needs to choose between two strategic options to revive the company. Friendster started the social networking industry in 2003, but has been overtaken by MySpace and Facebook. The two options are: 1) offer new features to help members enhance their offline lives, such as arranging events with their friends; and 2) offer features, such as the ability to import friends' blogs, pictures, recommendations, and feeds, to help members manage their experiences with their online friends. The two choices have very different value propositions and have very different competitive implications. Also describes the dynamics of relationships inside Friendster and discusses how these dynamics prevented Friendster from maintaining its leadership position. As such, allows for integration of organization and strategy in an entrepreneurial setting, and should be taught with LinkedIn (A) to facilitate cross-case comparisons.

Keywords: Value Creation; Competitive Advantage; Corporate Entrepreneurship; Social and Collaborative Networks; Brands and Branding; Service Industry;

Citation:

Piskorski, Mikolaj Jan, and Carin-Isabel Knoop. "Friendster (A)." Harvard Business School Case 707-409, September 2006. (Revised February 2007.)