Cyworld was one of the first social networks to profit from virtual sales and despite a steady drop in users it still remains the leading social network in South Korea.
On October 26, Cyworld which is owned by leading telecommunications company SK telecom, announced the opening of ‘Global Cyworld’ in an effort to crack the international market for the second time around. The site which launched in 1999 is based around a user’s ‘mini hompy’, short for mini homepage. Users can upload photos, text and various other multimedia to their pages which can be customized by purchasing skins and background music from the Cyworld store. In 2006 it was reported that 80% of Cyworlds revenue was from online sales.
Previous pursuits to enter international markets in the U.S, Japan and Europe flopped. One of the main problems with Cyworld’s previous attempts was that sites were independent, meaning that international users could not interact with each other. Having learnt from their experience, Global Cyworld has been launched as an integrated platform in seven different languages including English, Spanish, German, Japanese and two variations of Chinese.
Although Global Cyworld has been integrated into one platform this time, it seems as though there are still some kinks in the service and design. The language feature only applies to the users interface and accessing the homepage of someone who uses a different language will display it in that users language. Unfortunately, another problem which held them back last time still exists. Issues likes these will need to be fixed promptly if Cyworld is serious about penetrating markets which already have well established social network services.