Case Study: Orkut

Not many people may have heard of Orkut, a social networking site that launched back in 2004. It was owned by Google and named after its creator, Orkut Buyukkokten. It achieved great success within its ten year life span and was predominantly popular in the Brazilian market with 90% of views originating from there.

Orkut was designed to be a social networking site for users to find online communities. At it’s peak the website had over 30 million users and gained a large following with technology workers. It quickly became a social status platform that earned users a level of prestige due to the fact that it was an invite-only membership list.

That meant you could only be invited to join the platform by current users. That’s entirely different that all the other social platforms out there today where its free to join for anyone over 13 years of age. But Orkut’s exclusivity may have been the perfect marketing strategy to increase its popularity among established users. It became a type of online social hangout for users who knew each other interpersonally and wanted to make new connections with like minded people.

Besides its exclusive membership experience, the platform offered a clean and very simple interface that was both elegant and easy to use. Users could rate one another based on their looks and how cool or trustworthy they were. They were even allowed to make recommendations for products and services on the platform. This approach to their social platform allowed users to engage with another in a way that was more genuine than if they had applied a diffusion strategy.

Even more fascinating is that the fact that outdoor marketing is banned in Brazil. Which led to a surge of online marketing in the country. It’s no surprise that Orkut was predominantly popular in Brazil because it provided user there with a convenient platform to create communities and to share their opinions or views of products. Over 77% of Brazilian social media users are in favor of online shopping. And four-fifths of them use online platforms to research products.

The challenges that many social media platforms face in Brazil is that they need to cater to the demand that users have for blogging, gaming, and community interaction. Online marketing videos are very popular with Brazilian social media users. Ultimately, what led to Orkut’s demise was its user functionality. Videos on Orkut was a cumbersome experience at best and other features like friend limitations made it unbearable to most.

Today, having a large number of friend on a social media platform is a form prestige as opposed to exclusive membership rights. Not being able to have many people follow you on your social platform defeats the very purpose of engaging online to reach a large number of people. Orkut failed to anticipate this need and drove away many of its Brazilian users. If yo couple that together with difficulty in loading and sharing photos on their platform you have a recipe for disaster.

Social media today is about accumulating large amount of likes and followers. The majority of users share more photos and video post than any other form of media online. Orkut was innovative with it’s marketing strategy but it failed to keep up with social media user trends and that ultimately led to its quiet demise.

Till this day I have never heard of Orkut, but it achieved so much with its ten year life span.

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