2003, the year before the launch of Facebook, was prolific in terms of the birth of new social networks. Some, although no one talks about them anymore, still survive
The phenomenon of social networks, which Facebook consolidated as a fundamental element of the digital ecosystem in which we participate, originated seven years before Mark Zuckerberg launched his. Six Degrees ( 1997) was followed by Fotolog (2002), Friendster (2002) and many others that had their moment of success only to be forgotten and closed as users put their attention and time elsewhere. The year 2003 was especially prolific, enough so that part of its crop is still going and even, in the case of LinkedIn, remains dominant in its sector. Let’s see what has become of three social networks launched that year that, despite having seen much better times than today, are still active 19 years later.
70 million users may seem few when compared to the current figures of TikTok (1,000 million), Instagram (1,478 million) or Facebook (2,910 million), but we are talking about 2007 when having a smartphone was rare and the Internet was not yet available. penetrated to the last corner of our lives. That was the high point that Hi5 reached, especially popular in South America, which was also among the 40 most visited websites in the world that year and in 2008 it was still the third social network by users, behind Facebook and MySpace .
It began in 2003 as a social network similar to what would later be Mark Zuckerberg’s, in 2010 it turned its focus towards social games that were all the rage at the time and in 2011 it was acquired by another social network forgotten by most but still alive, Tagged . Already in decline, it was acquired by The Meet Group, owner of dating services such as Lovoo or Growlr, and currently has a similar operation to Tinder .
Xing is a professional social network launched in the same year as Linkedin and for a while it was ahead of Microsoft’s networking network. It began its journey in 2003 under the name of OpenBC (Open Business Club) which changed to Xing (“it is possible”, in Chinese) in 2006. In 2010 it had 10 million users, of which four belonged to Germany, the country which continues to be its main market. In Spain it reached a million and a half but in 2011 it closed its local offices, which left the way clear for LinkedIn to become the professional social network preferred by users, a position it still maintains with 310 million monthly users. . At present, Xing’s user base is around 19 million, mostly in Germany.
Current access page to MySpace, the preferred social network between 2005 and 2008.
The first social network to find massive success and to miss the train of time before the advance of Facebook and others. It was the most used between 2005 and 2008, the year in which it was surpassed by Facebook after reaching 115 million users . By 2019, the number had dropped to 9 million monthly users , but it is still active.
MySpace was born in 2003 as a way to replace personal web pages so that the user could easily create a profile and share images and music. This last aspect was key in its growth and became a suitable platform for new artists who wanted to make themselves known and connect with the public without having a record label behind them, which gave rise to several success stories such as Artic Monkeys or Adele. . MySpace was acquired in 2005 by News Corporation for $580 million, well above the $35 million for which it was sold to singer Justin Timberlake and Specific Media Group six years later.
The platform continued to lose users, changed ownership several times, and since 2019 it has been in the hands of Viant Technology LLC. That same year, MySpace lost all media uploaded by users between 2003 and 2015 as a result of a server migration .