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  • HarryD 7:43 am on March 22, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: FaceViet, Guongmat, , , , , Zoomban   

    Vietnamese Facebook clones’ face-off Part 2: VC’s Zoomban prepares inroad 

    As I wrote earlier that VC Corp is busy preparing their own Facebook clone, now its Zoomban.com is planning to go public, heating up the already crowded marketplace. Now it’s time to check the performance of the key players: FaceViet, Tamtay, Guongmat, and some predictions on the competition once Zoomban is officially launched.

    FaceViet has just launched its new platform, upgraded its server capacity and adding more entertainment features. Its new interface is cooler, but less elegant than the former and, strangely enough, is somewhat like LinkedIn! I actually prefer the old interface, because of its simplicity and crystal convenience (or maybe I’m too old to like cool things). I guess FaceViet has changed both its source code and interface too. The most remarkable functionality of the new FaceViet is its “Entertainment” feature, which provides a quite big library of online music and movies. This has proved a good tactical move, as FaceViet’s Alexa ranking has rocketed in the past few days because of this entertainment function. However, as the Vietnamese government, i.e. Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, has recently requested all pirate online music websites in Vietnam to strictly follow the Law on Intellectual Ownership, FaceViet’s move will be very risky in the coming time. FaceViet also provides its own vertical search engine that helps users find music and movie files.

    My forecast: With all these moves, FaceViet has regained good traffic improvements, but in the longer term, its business model becomes more confused. It seems FaceViet will continue its evolution with a focus on music and movie, and become a portal like VinaGame’s Zing.

    Guongmat has made almost no progress since the last time I wrote about them in November 2007, except for a new interface, and again has a strikingly similarity to FaceViet, especially the silver-colored design template. It also allows users to customize background pictures and “themes”. Actually I quite like Guongmat’s simplicity and some of its very convenient features like photo uploading process, but Guongmat has became a little bit too boring and provides no differentiation among the Vietnamese Facebook clones.

    My forecast: Guongmat need to look into its inner self to find where are its core competencies and what kind of value proposition and business model it is crafting, or other players like FaceViet, Tamtay and the upcoming Zoomban will put a full stop to Guongmat.

    Tamtay.vn has made some good progress in terms of traffic and customer acquisition. It now boasts more than 100,000 registered users, but most of these users have very little activity on Tamtay. From my perception, most users coming to Tamtay are teenagers, and they came there mostly because of Tamtay’s good selection of sexy photos and updated online movies! This is a smart short term tactic, but in the long term “bribing” customers with sex will only diminish the long term value proposition and brand equity.

    My forecast: I’m quite impressed with Tamtay’s performance, but again it will need to redefine a long term business model and a strong differentiation strategy, or it will trail behind Clip.vn in terms of online video and the upcoming Zoomban in terms of social networking functionalities.

    Among the Facebook clones, VC Corp’s Zoomban would be the most exciting to watch. With VC Corp’s tons of cash, technology capabilities and smart marketing initiatives, I guess Zoomban will soon become the biggest player and cause a lot of difficulties for both FaceViet and Tamtay. A good, fun, attractive user interface combined with delicate social networking functionalities will make Zoomban outstanding among its competitors. VC Corp’s widely reached Internet properties, including Dantri, TTVNOL, Baamboo, Sannhac, ChannelVN etc… will soon help Zoomban with a lot of free media value that FaceViet and Tamtay could never dream of.

    My forecast: It’s too early to make any forecast, but I guess Zoomban will score an early home run when it is launched in the next few months. However after that it will need to define a clear business model while the original Facebook is in its own difficulty finding an appealing social ad platform after Beacon has come to a full failure.

    The competition ahead between Vietnamese Facebook clones is now somewhat not very intriguing, as we’ve already sketch out the possible market leader. The more interesting thing is how the winner will find a way to make money on the back of their social graph and justify a differentiation with the original, authentic Facebook. For my part, I would stick to my viewpoint that Facebook is a uniquely US phenomenon and any attempt to replicate Facebook in another culture and country are too much risky, with China’s Xiaonei and the likes as good reference.

     
    • Robert Michel 7:50 am on March 22, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      I just stopped by your blog and thought I would say hello. I like your site design. Looking forward to reading more down the road.

      Robert Michel

    • Jason 8:12 am on March 22, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Zoomban is run on asp.net, a bit hard to follow FB as platform for developers. FB clones are not as hot as last year.

    • Jason Rakowski 8:16 am on March 22, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Good Layout and design. I like your blog. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. .

      Jason Rakowski

    • Thanh Le 7:14 pm on March 22, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks Harry for the quick updated blog.

      The market is crowded and I am excited to see more players jumping on board.

    • Do Kiet 10:59 am on March 23, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Zoomban seems to be the best Facebook clone, it has the platform for developers.

    • HarryD 11:09 am on March 24, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      @Kiet: can you detail further you perception that Zoomban has the platform for developers, as Jason has pointed out that Zoomban is developed on .Net framework while we knew PHP should be the right one for developers?

      @Thanh Le: appreciate your fairplay spirit, but you would have a lot of difficulties ahead then, because most of web 2.0 categories can only afford one market leader and there is almost no chance for second placed player (if there is second player at all!). It’s a pity, but I can’t wait to see what happen next and do hope there is a Cinderella story in web 2.0 Vietnam. Finally good luck to your team.

    • Do Kiet 11:42 am on March 27, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Hi Harry,

      I do not know much of how the platform will be, I just wanted to say I give them credits for having it.

      As for GuongMat.com, it is so boring and it doesn’t change anything since last time.

      Faceviet.com is boring just like Guongmat.com, they both have the same script online, most of the users are fake.

      tamtay.vn is really cool because of the video contents and the speed.

      Zoomban will probably be the future of social networking site for students.

    • Do Kiet 1:19 pm on March 27, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Guongmat and Faceviet bought the php script from this site http://www.socialengine.net for $300. The demo is here http://demo.socialengine.net/home.php

    • Gian Thương 3:25 am on April 1, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      I just passby Zoomban and see it is good design, not sure how cool is it after launch. It is perfect for teen!

      Hope to ready more interesting content from your like.

    • Van Son 8:58 am on April 14, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      i think Tamtay.vn is the best, they have more than 135000 members while Faceviet has 1000, GuongMat.com has 3700. I do not agree with what you said about the “little activity” of tamtay. Their system are intergrated and there are so many offline activities as well. FV, on the other hand, most of their members are fake, if not, they are just there to watch those online clips, which tamtay has way a lot more and much faster to load.

    • KCA 2:24 pm on June 19, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      hm, hm thanks for your blog, i just discover, , pretty good work you are doing with Jasonlog.

      With regards to the subject of your post, i am pretty sure that when BuddyPress will be ready, somes others player will come in the arena, maybe me ^^, and i think that it will make a big difference, because of the open source plateforme, and especially because Automatic is behind.

      In the long term, I don t see any point to clone Facebook if you cannot share the same API, so your menbers can still link with Facebook menber by example. Same for Yahoo 360.
      Maybe the OpenID is sufficient, but as far i see the OpenID not really takes off.

      When we are talking about the menbers, do we take in account the active menbers, who connect to their account at least 1 time/ week, or do we take every ones, en the ones who just registered to check the service?

      Anyway… Keep up the good work

    • Nhon.PT 8:47 am on October 16, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Great analyst! Do you thing a clone of Facebook is realistic in Viet Nam?

  • HarryD 4:09 pm on November 18, 2007 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: FaceViet, GuongMat.com, ,   

    Vietnamese Facebook clones’ face off: FaceViet vs. GuongMat vs. Tamtay vs. VC Corp vs. you name it… 

    More Vietnamese Internet players are joining the Facebook cloning bandwagon, and there are 15 billion reasons they may end up like their Chinese counterpart Xiaonei.

    Coming earliest to the field should be GuongMat.com, an exact Facebook clone from design to functions to everything. It is rumored GuongMat is put up by an oversea Vietnamese. GuongMat’s advantage is its clean and intuitive interface and easy to use Facebook functions like photo and message. However, that’s all what GuongMat have on its face. With these assets, GuongMat might have 240 million improvements ahead before becoming a Vietnamese Facebook.

    Tamtay.vn is the second guy entering the field. Actually when entering Tamtay, you should expect a buffet of web 2.0 mess, from video clips to photos to everything you can imagine. The only thing why I categorize Tamtay as a Facebook clone is its recent redesign to look exactly like Facebook. Tamtay is in a serious identity crisis, and until their management can pronounce concisely in one sentence what business model it is hatching, another 240 million improvements should be worthless.

    Interesting enough is new comer FaceViet, which will launch amid fanfare from this November 20. Khoa Pham assembled a very interesting feature on FaceViet through his interview with FaceViet’s CEO, so I would not elaborate more on this. From my point of view, FaceViet has a cool name and a pretty design, taking its dark red as signature color (although this makes the site too feminine). I would say this is a very smart identity move, as it is exactly opposite to Facebook. Key functions of FaceViet are news feed/mini feed, photos, events, super wall etc. FaceViet’s clever product strategy should make it one of the first to earn Vietnamese Facebook clone marquee.

    It is rumored VC Corp, one of Vietnam’s leading web 2.0 players with popular Baamboo and Sannhac services, is also busy preparing a Facebook clone. This might create a lot of difficulties for FaceViet, as VC Corp is well known for their technology capabilities and smart marketing concepts.

    The face off between Vietnamese Facebook clones therefore will just intensify in the coming time, but it is easy to see a future between the two horses: FaceViet and VC Corp. FaceViet have assembled a group of passionate and well-educated management team. It has done some early good work in brand identity and technology platforms. Meanwhile, VC Corp’s people have a team of very experienced managers but not just simply theoretical knowledge. They well know the pulse of the market, and is a deep pocket player as well. One more thing that FaceViet can not match VC Corp is VC Corp’s unrivalled reach through its key web properties. My prediction is that VC Corp will soon surpass FaceViet in terms of customer acquisition and become the No. 1 Facebook clone in Vietnam.

    A subjective prediction it is, but any winner in this red sea battle will find it in another challenge: how to find the vitality for its Facebook clone. I would stand by my viewpoint that Facebook is uniquely a US phenomenon. Any attempts to replicate Facebook in another culture and country are risky enough. All Vietnamese Facebook clone should look to neighbouring China to find heavily VC-backed Xiaonei, the most successful Facebook clone ever in Asia, as a good example. Vietnam, like China, has its own cultural context and any attempts to replicate international business model with “top-down” approach rather than from “bottom-up” demand analysis should have to pay a considerable price tag.

    Maybe in one years’ time, all my predictions will be proved utterly wrong. In that case, forgive me for a viewpoint that has taken Vietnamese culture, context and consumer insights too far in business strategizing.

     
    • Hoang Tran 9:49 pm on November 18, 2007 Permalink | Reply

      Very interesting analysis. Thanks Harry for a thoughtful post. I would agree that the competition now is between FaceViet and VCcorp “future to be announced product”. (The other websites make me feel like a pretty coat but no spirit inside)

      VCcorp is surely one of the power horses in Vietnam with IDG backed-up, and they have the manpowers that they need: management team, engineers, PR, web alliances. etc.. I haven’t seen their product yet so I will not say anything more than this.

      On the other hand, FaceViet adopts the facebook model in the full extends with well-designed website, easy to navigate user interface and as you said “a group of passionate and well-educated management team.” In this industry, we all know that the people is what drive one good idea into a successful product.

      Will a power horse win or will it be another hi-tech Cinderella story? I will have my eyes wide opened and seriously can’t wait to see when the battle settled.

    • Alex Minh 5:14 am on November 19, 2007 Permalink | Reply

      I totally agree with you two about FaceViet and VC Corp. If* VC Corp. is going to make a clone of facebook ( I use if because we are not sure whether they are going to make one or mayb with all the fund they got from IDG , they may acquire faceviet) then we will have 2 horses race.

      It is very interesting to see who will come on top. We all know that VC Corp. got fund from IDG but who is behind faceViet.com? We do not know yet.

      Like you two, I will keep an close eyes on both.

      Peace

    • Hồng Quang 5:55 am on November 20, 2007 Permalink | Reply

      We’ll never know what will work on the net until it works. One thing for sure, the game place is getting crowded — the first one who could reach 1M subscriptions (just refer to current Y!360 user number in VN roughly) would be likely to win the match, I guess.

    • thanhdn 9:43 am on November 21, 2007 Permalink | Reply

      From technical point, it’s not so difficult to create something like faceviet. You might forget the fact that ttvnol.com had been popular in the schools since 1999…, ThangVV has alot of experience of school community development. So VC’s has a big advantage to dominate the market.

    • Hoang Tran 11:38 pm on November 21, 2007 Permalink | Reply

      @thanhdn: Can’t agree more! VCcorp has more advantages in developing one community.

      @Hong Quang: 1 million would be a too big of a number, you think? I would say anybody has 500K would be good to go.

      According to recent news (rumor), VCcorp is not going to be a the biggest guy in the game anymore. Another giant from oversea (either China or US branch, still confirming) is developing another clone and will push it in the market by end of 2007. It is so funny that I hear people talking about this almost everyday, even within my company.

    • tanng 2:20 am on November 22, 2007 Permalink | Reply

      Hi all. You all seem to forget that on the Internet the best product will eventually win. Marketing or financial power will not be a key factor to success. Also, Internet is about whole new thing, so any experience will bring no advantage to you. Sometime experience even make harm to you because it keeping your from accepting new idea, inventing new thing or new way of thinking.

      So I think that everyone except FB is on equal footing in this game (in fact FaceBook has huge product advantage to all other FaceBook clones)

    • HarryD 3:19 am on November 22, 2007 Permalink | Reply

      @Hoang Tran: I also hear from my friends that a number of other players are lining up to join game, in the wake that Facebook clones in China and Germany are collecting some $100 million each.

      @Tanng: The best product stems from the combination of excellent marketing insights and relevant technology platforms. All founders of greatest tech companies are at the core marketing genius (thinking of Microsoft, Apple, Google, and Mark Zuckerberg & Co. itself). Any disruptive innovation is at core a marketing phenonmena through satisfying unmet demands based on mix-matching current technologies (not the new ones). Financial resources will allow scaling up, which is not less important. So while I agree with you that product is most important, marketing and financing capabilities are also a must in any success. Even Facebook had to get some good financing deals to go this far. Other factors equal, VC and VinaGame with more bucks and more people have more probability to succeed than others.

    • Xman 5:14 am on November 22, 2007 Permalink | Reply

      @Tanng: I did not see any core tech with VCC products, many see VCC just had Marketing or/and financial power (Dantri, ttvnol and Vincom)

    • nam 5:26 am on November 22, 2007 Permalink | Reply

      interesting post
      i believe GuongMat.com has been online for only a few months. Seems like tamtay.vn is the first FB clone?

    • tanng 5:47 am on November 22, 2007 Permalink | Reply

      Hi HarryD. Financial resource and marketing power could make more harm than benefit, because it may kill innovation spirit. Do you think that Yahoo, Microsoft or Google have less money and power and FaceBook? But they all still fail.

      When resources are scared you have to:

      • Optimize your technology so your application run fast with less resource. Make it scalable by technology not by money.
      • Doing smart marketing not silly PR and advertising like TimNhanh.com and Zing are doing now.
      • Streamlining your service, keeping only core features thus not allowing your product derail from the core value.

      When you have too many resouces you may

      • Get everything bloated: service, server, community, …
      • Overhyped and mislead by alexa and google analytics success, not measuring your success by customer satisfaction and enthuasism
      • Raising too much expectation from customer, thus risking over-promise
      • Distract your service from the core.
      • Not trying to get excellency from your team, your technology, your product.

      My 2 cents is marketing and money may have some impact, but their importance is reduced to nearly zero. That is the beautifulness of the Internet.

      In Vietnam biggest disadvantage of small company may be legal problem. Vinagame has smart and dirty practice that use legal system to attack small player, which may kill their competition in one night.

    • Hoang Tran 7:46 am on November 22, 2007 Permalink | Reply

      @nam: I am not sure if you know what you are talking about? Tamtay.vn is a great place for R rated video clips. Their marketing strategy is “Sex sells no matter what”. And I am not blaming them because it works with the Vietnamese internet users. But do I want to have my high school bros and sisters go in there to learn something? Hek no!

      @X man: VCC is big in financial because IDGVV is backing them up. Doesn’t mean that IDGVV is their best buddy to go with them all the way to the end. VCC needs to focus on what they do best which is Baamboo right now and Sannhac later. I personally know a group of guys in Europe is working on a product that would compete with sannhac.com. Sannhac.com is a good product but VCC is pushing them too slow because they think there would be no competition. Wrong thought!

      @tanng: I do agree with tanng that VCC and Vinagame can be a b*(ch and kill a smaller start-up in a few days by all the tricks that they used before. It is an open market and people do what they need to survive, (ethical or not). The legal problem is the BIGGEST problem anybody have to face when they do business in Vietnam.

      I love this quote:”My 2 cents is marketing and money may have some impact, but their importance is reduced to nearly zero. That is the beautifulness of the Internet.” Money might not be able to reduce to zero but marketing effort can be.

    • Duc Loc 11:57 pm on November 26, 2007 Permalink | Reply

      Have anybody noticed that most of the users in faceviet are fake. I have tried to send messages to many people and nobody ever replied. Another weird thing is that most users don’t even have a photo or are not associated with any particular group.

      I understand the need to get the first few thousand users and many social network inflate their numbers by registering fake users, but this seems to be overwhelming because most of the users on faceviet are fake. Can anybody confirm that?

      Also with so many bugs as of current version and the design is almost an exact copy of the original facebook, I wonder if faceviet just bought a cheap facebook clone script on the net and use that as the base to their site.

      I searched around for a little while and found a few sites that offer php scripts that can create a facebook clone.

      Here is the list:
      1/ http://www.influxive.com/isociety/index.php
      You can test ride it with
      username is tomchen@ima.com
      password is admin

      2/ http://forums.phpfox.com/showthread.php?t=11747
      This is supposed to be a mod for phpFox, social network software that originally created to look like myspace clone.

      There are plenty others facebook clone scripts, but most of those are really badly coded. I hope that Faceviet is not based on one of those because they will have problem when they need to scale up and handle bigger traffics.

    • Tran Minh 2:29 am on November 30, 2007 Permalink | Reply

      It doesn’t really matter what now, since the “big guy” is on its way to crush FaceViet and VCcorp

      Make a good comparison:
      VCCorp has financial power, coders and more than that back up from its others web propertities = technology + financial + political power. However, what’s VC core business? Baamboo, and they don’t really want to lose that market to somebody else, do they?

      FaceViet has a good team and a working product, so ? Not enough!

      The “big guy” has been pushing rumors all over the place that it will bring one of the best web 2.0 application that nobody has ever seen in Vietnam.

      I think the coding is not something important because what if you have Google or Yahoo script (http://ddth.com/showthread.php?t=143323) , faceviet ( http://freecodevn.com/for@um/showthread.php?t=34312 ) script, would you ever be able to scale up your search engine to be as big as Google or Yahoo ? No, no and no.

      My point of view is once this market getting to crowded by tens of competitors, all we can do is pray and enjoy the show. Because it is going to be fun, and it is going to be dirty.

    • MotTramDo.com 4:39 am on January 22, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Interesting debate. I see much of our concern so far is whether these copycats will succeed. But how about Facebook reactions. With so many clones it must have done something. An effort to localized facebook had been secretly launched (http://nus.facebook.com/translations/). Will these clones useful for finding oversea friends who are on Facebook? Apparently not.

      However, much of Vietnamese population don’t know about Facebook so the cake is still big for them.

      I would like to let Vietnam locals to know more about all these copycat phenomenon, will love to see your blog and continuing debate on mottramdo.com

    • nam 7:19 pm on February 26, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      FV is a joke! they bought php script for a few bucks and claim fv to be the next big thing? come on get real? i just dont understand how people with MBAs are that naive

      fv is now using a different script which is a lot better but still a light weight php script and there is no way they can scale up

    • David Nguyen 8:52 am on February 27, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Lol, following the line of comments, I can see Nam is working for tamtay.vn 🙂

      This kind of attitude and closed-minded personality is what keep technology in Vietnam so behind with the rest of the world.

      I personally don’t see the need to move anywhere else since my 360 is still working and Yahoo doesn’t seem to close it, but tamtay definitely lose my account 🙂

    • Do Kiet 10:50 am on March 23, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Both guongmat and faceviet bought cheap php script online to copy facebook. Those 2 are exactly the same

    • ANKIM.ORG 3:58 pm on July 9, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Faceviet and guongmat both are located in US and VC Corp’s sites are in vietnam.

    • HarryD 8:59 am on July 11, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      @AnKim: thanks for sharing the info, but please keep those “clean” from porn or political links otherwise I’ll have problem with censorship circle.

    • PB 1:57 am on November 1, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Just thought I’d throw another new site into the game, http://www.thegioiban.com. Hosted in the States, has a clean crisp FB style, but not many members. Might only be a matter of time.

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