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  • HarryD 3:12 am on October 14, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Tamtay.vn,   

    Facebook Vietnamese language gaining traction, how can Vietnamese Facebook clones survive? 

    I recently checked the translation functionality of Facebook for Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese), and it was, well, really cool. The wording is quite accurate, and fits with the context of Vietnam. The community function is engaging, and they have gathered a bunch of cool enthusiasts getting translation for them for free just because these guys really love their Facebook pages.

     

    It was a surprise for me that Facebook in Vietnamese could go that fast without any fanfare. Which may implicate a lot of difficult for Vietnamese Facebook clones, including FaceViet, Tamtay and Guongmat.

     

    Last year, I predicted that Zoomban, the Facebook clone from VCCorporation will soon be come a winner once it is launched in late 2007. A lot of changes has taken place since then.  Zoomban project was, to my surprise, canceled by VCC management. However, they were quite smart to stop this project in time, just imagine Zoomban’s position at the moment once Facebook Vietnamese version is launched. VCC opts for a painful but smart direction, so that they can have a better focus on what have made them different and well-positioned so far.

     

    Which remains FaceViet, Tamtay and Guongmat in the battle again original Facebook-the-Vietnamese-language-version. Their worst scenario: Facebook launching the Vietnamese language in Vietnamese, and they even go further with a culturally relevant Vietnamese homepage and a Vietnamese domain name, Facebook.vn for instance! Worse even, Facebook, with the global brand awareness prowess, strike deals with major Vietnamese media owners, publishers and SNS to make them compatible with FB system and take them into FB ecosystem. Final move would be to organize a Developer Program for Vietnamese developers. By these initiatives, Facebook Vietnamese version would definitely dominate the local market and corner the local clones.

     

    How are the Vietnamese FB clones performing? Guongmat is too slow in execution, so their opportunities have evaporated. FaceViet have been struggling for almost one year with many ups and downs, and now looks too much like other teenager-oriented SNS, which is a pity because of their excellent brandname and a young, dynamic management team. Tamtay is doing quite good on execution in terms of increasing their music and video inventory, but its core positioning is still not very clear.

     

    Tamtay has video, photo, and all other social networking functionalities, but sadly enough most of these functionalities are so me-too and uncool. Its total registered users is more than 250,000, but it seems their DAU and MAU are much smaller, and a check with their traffic on Google Trends would show a not very impressive growth. The most problematic issue with Tamtay is its brand is “uncool”, while building a “cool” brand should be the must for any successful new brand (“cool” here should be understood as a combination of many attractive and engaging brand image attributes rather than a teen-oriented one, as a BMW is also consider “cool” in Vietnam though it is not for teenagers). But who knows with a (rumored) VC funding coming in, Tamtay would become more innovative in the future?

     

    Can Vietnamese FB clones succeed? I stand by my view points one year ago that this is almost impossible. Vietnamese FB clones should not take the success of StudVZ or Xiaonei as their inspiration for a FB clone, but look thoroughly into the real insights of local consumers and develop innovative and disruptive products that can offer a differentiate value proposition from original international models. This would be a bit more difficult than cloning an international model, but a less riskier option once the authentic, original competitors move in and acquire Vietnamese consumers, who always prefer foreign brands to domestic ones if the followers are only imitators.

     
    • TaiTran 5:01 am on October 14, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Hi Harry,

      You covered 4 Facebook clones.

      What do you think of other Social Networks and Blogging Platform that provide certain Social features?

      Regards,
      Tai

    • Nhon.PT 9:09 am on October 14, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Hi Harry,

      If Facebook come in Viet Nam, it’s sound good. I use Facebook everyday that I haven’t see anysite can provide many widgets as Facebook can. I’ll look fw to see it in Viet Nam.

      Great news!

    • Duc Ban 4:47 pm on October 14, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Hi Harry,

      Don’t worry about these clones, if they have their own reason to online, I think Facebook’s new language pack isn’t a big trouble. The sheep were dead before the wolf come, my friend.

      At my point: These clones doesn’t have any chance in Vietnam because they can’t become Facebook Vietnam, not because Facebook or because Facebook release Vietnamese version. The reason is Facebook is not only a social networking, but also a very very strong platform. They have FBML, APIs, Facebook Connect system… I don’t think any of these clones can build a platform like that. All they think about is just a website, everyone can build a website like that, I am very sure about it.

      Every success story begin by a concept, but behind the concept is a solid platform.

      Duc Ban.

    • HarryD 6:45 am on October 15, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Tai,

      There are too many social networks in Vietnam that covering them all would be too overwhelming and boring to my audience, most of whom prefer a “less is more” and squarely focused approach. Implications mentioned in my pieces can be shared with most of other Vietnamese SNS as well. I will also review other SNS in the future if that can be interesting enough.

      Regarding Blog (only) Platform, there are two approaches: the technology and the business model ones. Anyone can claim they have the blog platform technology, but it is difficult to become a truly blog platform business model. Think of WordPress, TypePad and Twitter as the few that can be considered to be truly “platforms” for bloggers. So in Vietnam, there is no “blog platform” in terms of business model yet. I don’t argue with many who claim they have developed their own blog platform technology/programming.

      Social features have now become a standard for most of online publishers in the US (you can write you comments on almost all of news article, even in the New York Times), so expect this to become common features in all Vietnamese web 1.0 in the coming time as well.

      Social networks with social features will become a commodity in Vietnam very soon. Remember we are entering 2009, not in 2003 when MySpace and Facebook are the novelties. Think of something further, like a new business model, rather than another social networks with blogging and social functionalities. Sadly enough, many Vietnamese SNS are launching like there is no tomorow. I wish them well weather the credit crunch intact by the end of 2009.

      Nhon,

      A great part of FB is its ecosystem, including those seemingly stupid widgets. Imagine these widgets can be translated fastly and “scalably” like FB Vietnamese, and Vietnamese soon can approach this huge apps inventory overnight. That’s too good to be true for us FB users.

      Ban,

      You’re totally right. My addition: all the “small” functionalities made the FB ecosystem. To borrow Michael Porter, you can copy one thing but you can not clone that whole ecosystem. Know thyself well does help in cloning web 2.0 models then.

    • Dungiis 2:20 pm on October 15, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      In fact Vietnamese support in Facebook will not affect Vietnamese FB clones, they just copy the “skin” of FB rather than true core concept of FB :)

    • Karen 4:44 pm on November 18, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      i got bord of facebook… maybe i have out grow my “wasting time” age… i am a facebook user n help do some translation in hope that vietnamese people can use it too…

      because of cultural influence, i find it is hard to use tamtay, faceviet n such… and the new site yobanbe… most of the link are odd… dont connect u anywhere… or take u out of the main page without tellin you so…

      i agree on yahoỏ 360 is a popular feature on yahoo on vietnam, because u can write blog…

      i think if those new social network could get someone to write about blog, incorporate job posting, event promoting for certain things….

      most teen who are 13-17 use those social network… but when you get a bit older, u would not even care about those site… why is the reason… you have to much things to do… maybe if those social network site could also add reminder, easy to access, doesn’t require too much memory to load up, n fast and secure site, and create an asmosphere for people to come in… have an active teams to monitor, holding discussion about what is goin on in vietnam n so on…

      i just know the miss vietnam can’t crown the new miss vietnam her title… we all can assume the reason: i bet the sponsor want to sleep with her n she refuse… so he kick her off, not aware of the fact that people can think… also, who give him the title to kick someone off… there is no correct system here… no right, no protection, no image… we will automatically assume that “those host show” just want to sleep with those girls… n give off the bad vipe…

      if those new site can have news, games n such… i’m sure most of people would spend 15′ of their time goin in there to read n check out new stuff…

      but i’m aware vietnamese gov’t isn’t much of a supporter like the chinese… so most efford n attempt will be failed…

    • Cathy Catala 11:44 am on March 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Important guide. Were did you acquired all the information from

  • HarryD 7:43 am on March 22, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Guongmat, Tamtay.vn, , , , 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?

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