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Google's Orkut in Brazil: What's So Social About It?



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Code : SNW0004

Year :
2008

Industry : Internet and e-commerce

Region : Brazil

Teaching Note: Available

Structured Assignment : Available

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Social Networking Phenomenon ComScore Media Matrix’s survey in July 2007 showed how fast the social networking phenomenon was catching on. All social networking sites had seen an increase in visitors from the previous year. In all cases, the increase was more than 50% and visitors to some sites rose manifold (Exhibit I). Social networking sites are web-based services that first ask users to register and become members. This they do by filling up online forms about their age, location, hobbies, etc. They can even upload their photos, change the way their profile appears and even add multimedia content. Then they can connect with other users and stay in touch. SixDegrees.com, launched in 1997, was the first recognisable social network. It initially allowed users to create profiles, list their friends and later allowed surfing friends list. From 1997 to 2001, there were a number of sites that had some features of social networking...

Orkut in Brazil Orkut was such a hit in Brazil that of the 35 million Brazilian Internet-users, nearly 25million visited Orkut. Later on, a surge in traffic fromAsia-Pacific also fuelled growth (Exhibit V). In February 2005, Googlemade available a version of the site in Portugese, Brazil’s official language. This was the second version to be launched after the English one. The same year in June, Google created a subsidiary in Brazil –Google Brazil Internet Ltd.Orkut’smegahit in Brazil ledmany English speakers complain about heaps of Portuguese-language spam and they also bemoaned English not being the dominant language on the site. So successful was the Orkut model that local Brazilian portals also created their own versions...

The Backlash The illegal content on Orkut drew the attention of Thiago Tavares, a professor at the Catholic University of Salvador. In 2004, he had been given a small grant to track human-rights violations on the Internet. The NGO – SaferNet – which he created in 2005, allowed users to report online crimes via its website. Soon complaints started flooding in and the count of accusations against Orkut kept increasing to reach 1,582 by December 2005. This prompted Tavares to request a meeting with Hohagen. Tavares claimed that his requests were repeatedly ignored. This led to him asking for the intervention of the Brazilian Association of Internet Service Providers. Attempts to make contact were again ignored...

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