“Hey, can you friend me on Orkut… Wait… What?”
It is not about being first, it is about being right. In today’s world where start-ups are appearing almost every day this maxim has never been truer. The following map shows the amount of most popular social networks in the year 2009 and what has left of them by the 2012.
During that short period of time (slightly more than 3 years) their number has shrieked from 18 to only 5:
- Vkontakte (Russia)
- Odnoklassniki (Ukraine)
- Qzone (China)
- Cloob (Iran)
- And Facebook (pretty much the rest of the world)
Being first and being right
Being first is a huge advantage by any account. However, it is not a guarantee of success. For example, there were social networks in America long before facebook came to life (case in point: myspace). But only facebook found the right competitive edge. Mainly it was harvard.edu mail domain which made people flock to the network because everyone wanted to hang out with a cool crowd and not with some far away strangers from the world wide web.
On the other side of the world another network made it big. Vkontakte is so far the most popular social website not only in Russia but also in post-soviet countries and eastern Europe. The main reasons behind it are the following:
- By starting out locally, Vkontakte was better fitted for local audience
- Free media content. Despite being #1 social network, Vkontakte has probably one of the biggest audio and video databases (thanks to the legislative loopholes). Therefore, some users create an account just for the sake of streaming free audio and watching movies.
There is another great quote by Pablo Picasso: “good artists copy great artists steal”. It can be interpreted in many ways, in particular: it is not about great idea, it is about great execution.
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