Friendster Launching Support for Facebook Platform APIs

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Friendster, the biggest social network in Asia, will announce later this evening that it is expanding its application developer program by adding support for the Facebook Platform API. With tonight’s launch, Friendster will be the first social network to have implemented support for both the OpenSocial and Facebook Platform application development standards. Friendster launched OpenSocial support just this August, after implementing its own application platform in 2007.

The Friendster launch is a big opportunity for Facebook application developers interested in Asian markets. Facebook developers will be able to easily port (most parts of) their Facebook applications over to Friendster with very little work, gaining access to Friendster’s audience of 57 million users. According to comScore, Friendster’s user base only has a 22% overlap with Facebook’s, so Friendster offers access to an audience largely untapped by most Facebook developers.

In addition, Friendster is less restrictive about which parts of the application can be monetized. Developers can put ads on any real estate they control, including the profile page.

Facebook Platform API categories that will be supported as of launch tonight include: users, friends, notifications, photos, FBML, FQL, authentication, requests, and profile. The news feed API will not be supported, but it will be in the future. Friendster’s Director of Marketing Jeff Roberto says that Friendster intends to keep its Facebook Platform implementation up to date with Facebook’s, but it will just take a little more time to initially get in sync.

“Our vision with the developer program is to build a very open platform and to make it easy for developers who have built on common standards like Facebook and OpenSocial to deploy on Friendster,” Roberto says. “We will maintain our Friendster APIs, Facebook APIs, and OpenSocial APIs.”

Friendster becomes the second major social network to license the Facebook Platform API under the Facebook Open Platform (fbOpen) initiative. Late last year, Bebo launched its platform using Facebook APIs, shortly before being acquired by AOL.