I have been spending far too much time on Facebook lately, so I couldn’t help but notice the vertical banner ads for classmates.com that appear on the site. And I can’t figure out why they bother. I mean, I signed up for classmates.com probably six years ago, and never visited the site again.
Well until this week, when I went back to see if it still sucked (so I suppose you could argue their advertisement worked to an extent). And yes, it does still suck. I understand why there are two gas stations on every corner, and why you can usually find a Wendy’s or Burger King wherever there is a McDonald’s. They have really similar offerings. Is this the case with Facebook and classmates.com? I don’t think so.
Facebook and classmates.com just might be the best examples of Web 2.0 and Web 1.0, respectively.
They are almost polar opposites. Facebook is clean and fast. Classmates.com pages are slower and cluttered. Facebook is entirely free, while classmates.com is primarily a premium service. Facebook has features like photos, blogs, and mobile support. Classmates.com has message boards and biographies. Facebook is new and hip, classmates.com is old and tired.
It seems to me that at their core, the two services serve the same purpose: connecting people with friends (and especially classmates). In my opinion, Facebook does a much better job. It’s easier, and costs nothing. Classmates.com appears to be quite successful though, so I wonder if people use the two in different ways.
If they are in fact used for the same purpose, then I wonder if advertising on Facebook is at all effective for classmates.com. I can’t imagine it would be, but perhaps I’m missing something here.