StudiVZ, German Version of Facebook to Hit 1 Mill Users By End of November; Italian Version Following Footsteps

Posted Nov 10, 2006

A Facebook replica website, StudiVZ has been seizing a large marketshare of higher education students from the European market while Facebook is dominating the U.S. market. How similar do they look? Click on the thumbnails below to find out (opens in new window):
Facebook Screenshot:
StudiVZ Screenshot:
And while I’m discussing Facebook replicas, how about I once again mention Xiaonei, a recently acquired Chinese version of Facebook that I’ve profiled from before:
Not only is Ehssan Dariani the founder of StudiVZ, but he’s also a member that likes the movie Zoolander and is a 26 year old student at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland studying economics. Dariani started StudiVZ about a year ago and now the current user base is 950,000. Dariani claims that 15,000 people are signing up with StudiVZ per day compared to Facebook’s 20,000 people signing up per day. Dariani started this company with an initial investment of 5,000 Euros at an Internet coffee shop and now has 50 people working for him.

How fast as StudiVZ grown? In July, 200,000 users had signed up and then doubled in August and then another 100,000 in September. By the end of this month, StudiVZ is expecting 1 million users to be signed up. “We want to keep the page free and support it with unobtrusive forms of advertising,” stated Dariani about future growth. “Right now, we want to concentrate on making things run smoothly, and we’ve got plenty of work on our hands already.”

Dariani is not afraid to admit that StudiVZ is a Facebook replica, but has stated “it was also clear from the get-go that we would strongly distinguish ourselves by other things, that we wanted to be original.” An example of a distinguished feature is called “gruscheln,” which is the equivalent of a Facebook “poke.” And because Dariani is not afraid to admit that his website is based off of Facebook, he gives advice to Germans complaining about finding a job. “Stop whining about having no job, or a bad job — that’s total nonsense. As far as that goes, we can learn a lot from the Americans.”

Since so many people in Europe had signed up for the German version, it appears that Dariani made a spin-off Italian version as well called studiLN. Dariani has had many problems with servers because of conflicts with telecomm companies in the past and hopes to fix these problems as the user base grows.

To display the actual growth rate, I have placed a screenshot of StudiVZ’s Alexa ranking chart from the last 6 months:

Had this been a more original product, I would have been a lot more impressed, but I give Dariani credits. I have seen other MySpace and Facebook replicas that has not seen anywhere near similar growth.

[Source: Spiegel Online]