The German version of the site went live in March this year, but it is struggling to keep up with local rival StudiVZ, the TechCrunch.com blog on the paper’s website reported. Facebook supposedly has a German user base of 800,000, while StudiVZ has more than 10 million. But Facebook has only grown by 200,000 members since it went German, spurring the new partnership with the Zurich-based Smaboo promotion agency.
Smaboo is calling for Facebook “ambassadors” to work for a recruitment competition between Munich and Berlin. Winners can earn internships at Facebook, iPhones, Wii game consoles for their commitment to the cause. This tactic is apparently quite similar to one used by StudiVZ some years ago where university campus captains acted as “evangelists” who approached new recruits.
Meanwhile Facebook began pursuing a case to shut down StudiVZ in July under claims that it is a “knockoff,” of the widly popular American site.
“A great part, if not all, of StudiVZ’s success is due to copying and misuse of Facebook’s intellectual property,” Facebook lawyers said in a civil suit filed July 18 in US District Court in San Jose.