Friendster’s troubles

A week or so ago, Internet blogs reported the sad fate of Joyce Park, the 35-year-old Friendster engineer. She was fired, reportedly for blogging about her company’s efforts to speed up its notoriously slow Web site. Friendster, the year-and-a-half old social networking company that links up friends, has been all the rage among young Internet users. The firing of Park, who wrote a blog called Troutgirl, might have hurt its reputation among bloggers though. The latest article about the incident appears in the Red Herring (if you haven’t already, you’ll need to register at Red Herring’s site, but it’s free), and it’s a good summary. In short, the overwhelming sentiment in blog land is that Friendster did the wrong thing because Park apparently only blogged on things that could be found out by outsiders in other ways (there were other blogs mentioning the Web site problems, and other ways of dectecting the changes it was making). We asked Friendster about it, and spokeswoman Lisa Kopp said it was company policy not to comment on such personnel matters.

Still, more flap hit Friendster last month, when critics were quoted in a Wired article that Friendster is promoting profiles of characters form the new movie Anchorman, and might even usher in capabilities for users to create fakester profiles, even after it banned fake profiles last year. Kopp said the main thing was to avoid the potential abuse of users by people who paraded under a “Jesus” or other such fake identity. She wouldn’t elaborate on the coming product, but she said it would be safe and that it will be rolled out in about a month.