Friendster Patents "Social Matching"

After three patents relating to social networking, Friendster is at it again. The fourth patent for Friendster, called “Compatibility Scoring of Users in a Social Network,” seemingly pertains to matching users within the Friendster network for various purposes.

So far, Friendster is being pretty tight-lipped about its intended use of its new patent, and there’s only so much we can conjecture based on the patent’s name and the brief description of “scoring the compatibility between two members of a social network based on their interests and scoring the correlation between two interests for a given member of a social network.”

When asked for more details as to how the compatibility score will work, a Friendster representative indicated that this fourth patent is a key asset to its patent portfolio, which also includes a patent for “social networking,” the process of adding content to other users’ profiles, and a system for users organizing media and content on a social network.

Given the expectations of cooperative networks and services that have been swelling for the past year or so, it comes as no surprise that Friendster has gone after a fourth patent related to user scoring and compatibility. If this scoring system is used for recommendations, matching purposes for easier network-building or a commerce-based marketplace, there’s a number of ways in which something like a user scoring and compatibility function could work within an established network like Frienster.

What would be interesting to learn from Friendster is how the actual scoring system works, based on information users already have or are probed to offer up. And it would also be interesting to see if Friendster will use this patent with open standards in mind, or keep it as a feature strictly used within Friendster for its own purposes. There are other networks that score users to some extent, matching them with each other and with various media recommendations. eSnips, for example, launched a similar program last year for this purpose.

Even though Friendster has another handful of patents still pending, the first-move tactics for patenting various attributes of social networks haven’t deterred other socnets like Facebook from setting standards achieving many of the outcomes that Friendster has achieved or is looking to achieve. Nevertheless, it’s clear that Friendster has a long-term goal in mind with its patents and approach to online social networking and all interactions therein.