How the current concept of social networking found its shape upon the Internet

How the current concept of social networking found its shape upon the Internet
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The beginning of Social Networking sites

In the year 1997, a website called was launched. The site is not functioning anymore, but it provided the users for the first time with an experience that could be said to be more or less like today’s popular social networking sites. Although it was not loaded with today’s killer features and applications, it offered the users a functionality to create their profiles and connect with their friends existing upon the network. In the year 1998, the site allowed the member to browse their friends’ list of friends too. During the infamous Dot-com crash, couldn’t sustain its existence, and shut down its operations in 2000.

After, a number of social networking sites appeared and disappeared from the world wide web, some of which were AsianAvenue, BlackPlanet, MiGente, and Circle of Friends that was founded in 1999.


In 2001, a website called was founded by a man named Adrian Scott, a person who had previously invested in Napster, the file sharing site.

Scott had launched with an aim to provide the users with business networking through the Internet. The concept was relatively new and powerful enough to give rise to a new breed of business networking sites.


Further, to expand the scope of services offered by, a new site called was launched in 2002. It was primarily aimed at challenging, a popular dating site of that period. The site soon became a favorite among the social networking fans, and its online traffic expanded even beyond the capabilities of the people running it, the major cause being higher bandwidth prices during those days.

It is assumed that the ultra-rapid growth of online traffic created a huge imbalance in the operations of the site as the administrators couldn’t keep up with the sudden growth which resulted in overburdened servers and databases. Gradually, the frustrated users began migrating back to emails and other modes of communication. Although the popularity of saw a huge fall in the U.S., it is still very popular in some Asian countries such as the Philippines, Singapore, and Malaysia.


Following the success of, a new website for business networking with the name was launched in December 2002 by a previous Executive Vice President of PayPal.

In order to maintain trust of the members, it followed a “gated access approach”, that required previously existing relationship between two members before enabling contact between them. The site is still one of the most sought after in the category, with a reported site traffic of 3.2 million users per month until December 2007.

This post is part of the series: The story of Social Networking Sites

Whether you are a net-geek or a housewife using the Internet, if you are not present at any of Orkut, Facebook, Myspace or the sorts, they say you are a net-illiterate, so powerful have become the Social Networking sites these days. But how did it all begin, want to know? Jump in..

  1. The story of Social Networking upon the Internet: The Preface
  2. The story of Social Networking upon the Internet: The Beginning
  3. The story of Social Networking upon the Internet: The Real Game