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RealTime IT News

Friendster 'AGlo' For VoIP

Social networking site Friendster has struck a deal with Voice over IP provider Voiceglo in order to offer the IP telephony service to millions of the site's users.

The new "Friendster Phone," powered by Voiceglo's GloPhone technology, will allow the social networking site users to make free calls to other users on the VoIP system. If users want to enable calls from the regular PSTN system, they would have to pay a premium.

"For us it's about giving our users more features and services to enhance their experience on Friendster," said Lisa Kopp, a Friendster spokesperson. "It's really to grow our user base and get our existing users more involved."

Chris Petrovic, VoiceGlo's vice president of strategy and business development, said the Friendster deal is a win-win for both companies. "From a strategic standpoint Friendster represents a wonderful opportunity. Obviously they're a leading online destination in the social networking space and they have several million users," Petrovic told internetnews.com.

"They were looking for a way to offer their users not only a value added tool as part of the Friendster experience but also we're looking for a way from a business perspective to monetize their user base. Our product offers them that opportunity."

The deal with Friendster follows other deals VoiceGlo has made in recent months with large online networks. In July, it partnered with P2P network eDonkey to offer VoIP services to that user base.

Teney Takahashi, market analyst at research firm The Radicati Group, said the partnership will help Friendster differentiate itself from other social networking sites.

"Differentiation in this market is key, since customers are likely to migrate to new services that offer a more compelling, innovative or 'trendy' suite of features," Takahashi told internetnews.com.

"It is likely that the company would experience limited success by trying to compete directly with service providers such as Vonage and Telco juggernauts AT&T and Verizon."