Why Germans Prefer Facebook Over Studiverzeichnis

Facebook's continued growth in Germany at the expense of Studiverzeichnis, or StudiVZ, looks a lot like how MySpace has been declining.

I’ve been going back and forth with the editor of our sibling blog, AllFacebook.de, about how the 17.9 million German users of Facebook have migrated from using Studiverzeichnis, or StudiVZ for short.

Both in Germany and here, Facebook didn’t come first, but people migrated to the Palo Alto-based social network after first using other sites. The main difference: the migration started in the U.S. before Europeans started cutting over on their own.

Here we had Friendster and MySpace each have some time in the limelight before losing luster (euphemism!). Germany’s predecessor site, StudiVZ, peaked at 15 million in September 2009 and has been declining ever since.

Facebook had attempted to acquire StudiVZ, then sued, and now continues to charge ahead with more users than the predecessor site, enough to warrant the opening of an office in Hamburg earlier this year.

So to answer the question that started this post (another blog with outdated numbers had asked the question and we’ve chosen not to link to it because it’s inaccurate): Why doesn’t Facebook have more users in Germany?

The answer is that, actually, Facebook does and membership is continuing to grow over there at the expense of StudiVZ, in a way that parallels the downfall of MySpace in the U.S., only with a bit of time staggering.

You don’t even need to be fluent in German — thanks, Google Translate — to be able to tell, even just from the iconography, how StudiVZ resembles MySpace.

Readers, what do you think will become of StudiVZ and, for that matter, MySpace?

Many thanks to Philipp Roth, editor of AllFacebook.de, for his input.