Facebook is quickly catching up to a German replica for social networking dominance in Germany. One of the primary reasons why replicas quickly sprouted up was because Facebook did not have their website translated until late in the development phase. In this case Facebook replica StudiVZ has 16.6 million registered users across their network in Germany, while Facebook has 9 million. Overall Facebook has over 500 million users.
StudiVZ is named after the word Studentenverzeichnis (translates to students’ directory). One of the biggest problems with StudiVZ is the name of the company. Once people graduate from school, they no longer like to be considered a student. Facebook started originally as a student-focused social network, but they have broadened beyond that phase.
StudiVZ was sold to German publishing company Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH for ?85 million in January 2007. Other websites in the StudiVZ network include SchülerVZ and MeinVZ.
In July 2008, it was revealed that Facebook was filing a lawsuit against StudiVZ for an infringement on the “look, feels, features, and services.” Facebook filed the lawsuit at a court in Germany and in California. The California court basically told Facebook to handle everything with the German court system.
The German court said that StudiVZ did not violate any I.P. rights held by Facebook. This happened about a year after Facebook was attempting to acquire StudiVZ, but the negotiations fell through. Facebook and StudiVZ made some sort of undisclosed settlement in order to end the conflict.