I was surprised to hear today that social network Friendster has released a Japanese version of its site. They also launched Friendster in Korean (the site is already available in Chinese).
I have to admit this move leaves me a little staggered. Friendster makes two “mistakes” here:
They are way, way too late. There is Mixi, GREE, MySpace Japan, Yahoo 360 etc. etc. Who needs Friendster now?
The launch of the Japanese version is barely backed by any Marketing or PR in this country. Moreover, Friendster just translated its service instead of localizing it. This is a hopeless approach in most country markets but especially in Japan.
Surely people at Friendster know all of this themselves.
Why did they translate their site anyway? My guess is Friendster just wanted to round off its service. They cover English, Chinese, Spanish, Korean and Japanese now. However, only very, very few Japanese users will be inclined to join Friendster through this move.
My mother tongue German is still missing on Friendster ;).