Often referred to as the “Facebook of France,” Copains d’Avant was France’s top social network. As late as mid-2010, Copains d’Avant had more members that the world wide social network giant, Facebook. Even though Facebook had more daily traffic, the membership numbers showed that Copains d’Avant would have staying power in France. Today, Facebook is solidly the number one social network in France, both in terms of members and in terms of daily web traffic. Copains d’Avant is now ranked number four. It seems that Facebook itself is now “France’s Facebook.” Is Facebook really better than Copains d’Avant? Could Facebook’s popularity in France be due to the site’s global popularity? Or is it a better site? The following review examines several features of both sites to see which one is the winner.
Both sites are free to join, but the membership process for the two is a bit different. To join Facebook, you simply go to the homepage and open an account by providing some very basic information, and you can go back in and complete the profile at a later time. The Copains d’Avant process is a bit more complex. You need to have an association to a school, university, employer, military branch, club or another group to join, and it seems that this club needs to already be in their databases. While their list of schools and the like is pretty exhaustive for France, there are less options for those internationally. Also, you must provide more information to get started. It seems that Facebook is a bit better in this review category. It not only allows anyone from anywhere to join, but it is easy to do. They also don’t require too much information.
Facebook changes their layout often, but it continues to be minimal. White, blue and grey, Facebook is designed to make it easy to read and navigate. The design is open, so the various elements and posts appear to flow into each other. There are few text links outside of the ones posted by members. The Copains d’Avant layout is as boxed in as Facebook is open, quite literally, as almost all of the content is in boxes. The site, particularly during the registration process is heavy on text links, and it can take quite some time for a user to read through all the text listed to find what he or she is looking for. The site also feels quite cluttered. Boxy, choppy and a bit too tight, it seems that Copains d’Avant loses out to Facebook again. The design doesn’t feel contemporary, and it feels desperately in need of a refresh.
There are many more ways in which these two sites differ, but even from examining layout and membership, it becomes apparent that in many ways Facebook is the better site. It seems like Copains d’Avant had its hay day, and unless some major changes are made and the site is updated, it could quite possible fade away into the background.
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