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Social Networking/Network Marketing May Come To An End Soon ...
7/12/2006 3:16:26 PM

Hello all. No this is not a joke. It seems the website Friendsters has filed a patent for what drives social networking.

This was passed onto me by a reliable source so I urge everyone to read this.

Wow. Friendster Patents Social Networking - breaking news from Red Herring. What a strange thing to patent. Beyond the buzz of irate people who hate Friendster, I am stuck sifting through the blogosphere trying to find insights on “what’s next”.

Digging through the posts and comments, I found one person who noted that in order to infringe on their patent, ALL parts of the patent need to be duplicated. A key component in the patent is the way people connect.

From US Patent 7,069,308 

A method and apparatus for calculating, displaying and acting upon relationships in a social network is described. A computer system collects descriptive data about various individuals and allows those individuals to indicate other individuals with whom they have a personal relationship. The descriptive data and the relationship data are integrated and processed to reveal the series of social relationships connecting any two individuals within a social network. The pathways connecting any two individuals can be displayed. Further, the social network itself can be displayed to any number of degrees of separation. A user of the system can determine the optimal relationship path (i.e., contact pathway) to reach desired individuals. A communications tool allows individuals in the system to be introduced (or introduce themselves) and initiate direct communication.

The reason this is so important to me is that a big part of the ultimate goal of is to build a community component. I had initially intended to connect members via a six degrees of separation way of introduction. Now it seems as though I will have to rework that plan.

Great questions being raised in the blogosphere include:

  • Can Friendster really lay claim to inventing online social networking?
  • Is the US Patent process really serving the needs of our in-person social networks by granting such a broad-based and general patent?
  • What will Friendster do with this newly obtained patent? Will they use it offensively - going after their competitors, or defensively, as a way to boost their value as a company?
  • And my own question to add is in the end, if Friendster is able to elimiate their competitors, what happens to the real people behind these already established social networks? Does anyone really think that just because the technology is now “owned”, that these people will stop socializing?

One of the major concerns I have been reading about today is in regards to how much this patent will likely hamper innovation. I see it as the exact opposite. With no alterative, people WILL find new ways to interact online. People will always find ways to connect with each other - it’s in our evolutionary blood. Perhaps Friendster is going to make it a bit more difficult to get the new networks established, but I have no doubt they WILL be established.

For now, I am simply left to ponder my own new way to connect individuals who have a passion for self help and helping each other. :)

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From the blog eMomsAtHome at:

We need to keep an eye on this for sure.

Kenneth R Sword Jr

Lisa Westberry

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Re :Social Networking/Network Marketing May Come To An End Soon ...
7/12/2006 4:46:58 PM

Hello Kenneth,

This is serious!! I will help by spreading the word too.

Great Thread and Subject.

Thank you so much for helping and keep your friends informed.


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Bogdan Fiedur

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Re :Social Networking/Network Marketing May Come To An End Soon ...
7/12/2006 4:59:08 PM

Hi Kenneth,

I'm reading the patent now. Usually patent is related to specific process not to the abstract concept. Networking and communities have been there for ages before the internet. What I believe they have patented is the way how relationship between members is represented in computers and how this can be used to search for users.

Amazon has a patent on affiliate programs. This has not affected anyone.



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Ana Maria Padurean

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Re :Social Networking/Network Marketing May Come To An End Soon ...
7/12/2006 5:08:00 PM
Hello Ken,
I have to confess that I do not understand too much of it!
It should be the late hour and because I'm a bit tired by now!
I'll read it again tomorrow maybe it will be different for my "little" brrrain! LOL

I've posted an invite with your message!
Hope it helps.
With friendship,

Re :Social Networking/Network Marketing May Come To An End Soon ...
7/12/2006 5:08:53 PM
This will tremendously hurt networking,what can we do?It is like taking one of our freedom`s.Iam upset about this,this is how we earn a living.......How could they?

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