Orkut: The Rise and Fall of of a Pioneer
Social Networking Pioneer Was the Beginning of What is Today
Orkut was started in 2004 as a social networking site for people to be able to connect with likeminded people, professionals, and businesses. It was really the first social network to allow people to like products, companies, and people they admired. It was the foundation of what we see today in social media and social media marketing.
Orkut was named after its Turkish creator, Orkut Büyükkökten. He was a Google employee and engineer at the time. It was groundbreaking as it allowed users to become fans of people they already knew and find and meet new friends. They could rate them as cool, sexy, funny, trustworthy and many other superlatives. It also allowed them to network with people around the globe. It was cool and innovative.
The site was structured similarly to other social media sites, and like many still are today. Where it stood out was it gave the users control once they became a member. They could interact with their friends, businesses, and other like-minded people. They had a voice. This was why it was so important in the bigger picture of what we see today.
Orkut Moved Away from Traditional Marketing Concepts
With social media evolving and changing quickly at the time, traditional media was still king. Orkut made it to where users and companies, and brands, could create groups, communities, network and do market research and analytics and cater to them. This was done to allow users to be able to feel like they were a welcome addition to the development and marketing process. Even if the users didn’t feel like they were crucial in these decisions to start with. Brands and companies were reading their comments and seeing who these users were following and marketing.
The network did an outstanding job of using their marketing action plan to move away from traditional media and marketing. This is evidenced by having over 50,000 established communities after just the first four months of its existence. Within a year the company had over 1.5 Million established communities. The networks clean and easy to use interface made it a darling of the technology communities and students around the world.
Consumers/Users Loved the Platform
As we touched on before, the ease of use was what made this platform take off like a rocket. With more users worldwide it took the emphasis away from US users and countries like India and Brazil were taking the platform over by 2008. Brazil doesn’t allow outside advertising in the nation, so companies, brands and others wanting to get their messages out there had to resort to videos and other forms of digital marketing. This is what really changed the game.
The communities had to allow users to blog, comment, and interact in ways that were not done before. Interacting by videos was something that Brazilians took to very quickly. They also loved the ability to share many photos and get creative. Sure, Facebook and others had allowed photo sharing, but it was mainly just regular photos. Orkut allowed users to use their imaginations and tell stories. These communities were theirs, just as well as the companies.
By 2011 Facebook had overtaken Brazil as the leading social media market network. Orkut kept trying to change its platform to keep up with the times and had a few blunders. In the ever-changing world of social media, a platform can’t afford to make mistakes, or not correct them quickly if they do. Google decided to shut Orkut down in 2014 after it had lost much of its market-share to Facebook and other companies.
I would recommend any company, business, or brand to take advantage of these social media sites. Especially the ones that allow very little censorship, freedom of speech and encourage user engagement. These sites can only increase transparency, product trustworthiness, and consumer confidence. When consumers feel safe and confident about their products, they will become loyal users, followers, and help spread the word for your company. There is nothing like good word of mouth to help grow your market-share.