McDonald’s, an Olympic sponsor for more than 40 years, has taken to the web to hype up their “Olympic Champion Crew” program.

In order to let as many people as possible know about the program, McDonald’s has set up an Olympic Champion Crew page on the hottest social network out there, Friendster! Um, wait, really? Friendster? If you’re thinking to yourself, “wait, Friendster still exists?” or “did I just time warp back to 2003?” then you probably aren’t alone. Ok, first, some deets on the program, and then we’ll get back to how clearly no one has told McDonald’s that Friendster hasn’t been relevant since the Britney Spears-Kevin Federline breakup.

The Olympic Champion Crew program allows the “best of the best” of McDonald’s restaurant employees a chance to be selected to travel to the Olympic Games and work in the McDonald’s restaurants erected to serve the athletes, media, etc. While there, they will experience the excitement of the Games as well as the sights of Beijing.

Congrats! You get a free trip to Beijing, and once you are there, you get to… at a McDonalds! Um….that’s cool I guess? On the program’s website, McDonald’s has a video explaining just what the “Olympic Champion Crew” is all about. McDonald’s also asked their employees to submit short videos in which they define their Olympic spirit in just 5 words. On Thursday, in a special “medal ceremony” in Beijing, McDonald’s will present the winners for the best videos with Gold, Silver and Bronze medals, along with cash prizes up to $2,500. The winning videos will be determined by a vote from a group of former Olympians.

Ok, back to the WTF? aspect of this whole campaign: the decision by McDonald’s to set up a page on Friendster. Really McDonald’s? Really? Is it 2003 again? Let’s take a quick look at the monthly traffic for MySpace, Facebook and Friendster, according to

Sweet jesus, there is NO ONE on Friendster compared to MySpace or Facebook. If it looks to you like the green Friendster line is flat-lining just barely above the “zero million” mark, you aren’t seeing things, that’s about where it is. Friendster has been cruising along at about 1.5 million visitors a month, compared to the far, far, far, far, far, far, far more robust Facebook, with 38 million a month, and about 60 million a month for MySpace.

So what gives? Bloggers have been declaring that Friendster is dead for several years now. As far back as 2006, the NY Times noted that Friendster, once the king of social networking sites, was no longer even in the top 20. At the time, they were even lagging behind a brand new site created by a 16-year old.

There is only one explanation: Asia. For those of us who thought Friendster was dead, it turns out that it has managed to pull its mangled carcass out of the gutter and live on in the hearts of millions of Asian teens. In the past two months, both Time Magazine and the NY Times Bits blog have reported on the fact that Asians LOVE Friendster. It is now considered the top social networking site in the region, with 33 million unique monthly visitors.

Um, ok, Asians love Friendster. But McDonald’s, unless this campaign is all about Asia (which I doubt, since you are promoting it here in the U.S. as well) you need to get hip to the internet. Newsflash: Friendster is dead in America. It’s been dead for at LEAST 2 or 3 years now. I mean heck, if you’re gonna run a campaign on Friendster, why don’t we just buy some banner ads on Compuserve and Prodigy?

3 Responses

  1. Lemmonex

    I am going to email McDonald’s from my aol address and tell them how silly this is…or maybe just send a telegram instead.

    I am actually more shocked that myspace is bigger than facebook.


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