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Friendster rivals merge; Evite enters

InterActiveCorp says its Evite service will compete with Friendster, and a San Francisco start-up acquires a competing personal networking service.

In further evidence of a boomlet in social networking start-ups, InterActiveCorp said its Evite invitation service will compete with Friendster, and a San Francisco start-up acquired a competing personal networking service.

Evite said Thursday that it has debuted version 2.0 of its online invitation service, promising to transform the InterActiveCorp unit into "a community site with public event planning tools."

Evite 2.0, which launched as a test or "beta" version, will mimic social networking sites, such as Friendster, with the introduction of personal profiles, called "My Info" pages, and bulletin board messages. The test phase is scheduled to end in the first quarter of the coming year.

Social networks such as Friendster and consist of personal profiles and lists of friends that people can use to meet one another, post messages and send e-mail.

"This new version of Evite (Evite 2.0) will then become a close competitor to Friendster, Craigslist, Emode, Meetup, etc., but still maintain a unique service," Evite said in a statement.

Evite's new version comes the same day that San Francisco-based Emode announced its acquisition of social networking site Ringo from Birthday Alarm.

Emode also changed its corporate name to Tickle, the moniker of its recently launched Friendster-style social network.

Birthday Alarm, based in Walnut Creek, Calif., will keep its eponymous birthday-reminder service. The company claims 350,000 Ringo users, which will bring Tickle's total to 1 million.

Details of the transaction were not disclosed.