Coming Cyworld Invasion



Cyworld is a South Korean web community site operated by SK Communications, a subsidiary of SK Telecom. Literally translated, "Cyworld" means "relationship world."

Members cultivate on- and off-line relationships by forming Ilchon buddy relationships with each other through a service called "minihompy," which encompasses a photo gallery, message board, guestbook, and personal bulletin board. A user can link his/her minihompy to another user's minihompy to form a buddy relationship. It is quite similar with facebook and MySpace in USA. It has been reported that as much as 90 percent of South Koreans in their 20s and 25 percent of the total population of South Korea are registered users of Cyworld, and as of September 2005, daily unique visitors are about 20 million.

Cyworld revolves around buddy relationships. These relations are formed when one member sends an invite to another member and the invite is accepted. Buddies can then view each other’s minihompy and exchange contact information.

For close friends, you can set up a special relationship that will tell you when they are logged on and when they have updated their minihompy.

Buddy relationships can be freely ended by either member. The other member is not directly notified, but the former buddy’s name will disappear from the buddylist.

The main feature of Cyworld is the service called minihompy, which combines a photo gallery, message board, guestbook, and personal bulletin board. What sets Cyworld apart from traditional blog sites such as Blogger and LiveJournal is the "miniroom", which is the virtual room where the blogger's cyberspace avatar, or "mini me," lives. Users can choose to buy wallpapers, clothes for their virtual counterparts, furnishings, background music, banners, fonts and other decorations for their minihompy. To buy these items, users must first exchange their real world currency with Cyworld money called "dotori" –- literally translated, "acorns." Most of these items are time-limited, and automatically disappear once that time has expired.

The typical layout for a minihompy has a title (e.g., "This is X’s minihompy"), and four main areas. The left column has a photo, followed by a brief description and user information (name, blood type, birthday, address, etc.), and links to mutual buddies’ minihompys. The center area displays the main content (profile, photo gallery, bulletin board, diary, etc.). On the intro page, this area features the user’s avatar and miniroom, as well as recent postings, and an area for visitors to leave short comments. Off to the right side is a quick menu of links to all the pages of the minihompy, and to the far right is a window that tracks various statistics such as number of visitors.

"Clubs" are community rooms that users can create to discuss a specific topic. Furnishing a club is similar to furnishing a miniroom and requires purchases through acorns.

"Paper" is Cyworld’s blog-like service. It provides blog-like platforms, but It is like Mail magazine rather than blog.

Cyworld collaborates with Nate.com to provide users with an instant messenger service. This service used to be compatible with MSN Messenger, which was the most widely used instant messenger service in Korea, but it is no longer compatible, and has nevertheless overtaken MSN Messenger in Korea.

Cyworld uses its own virtual currency called “Dotori,” or “Acorn.” One acorn costs 100 won, approximately USD $0.10. Prices vary from about 2 acorns for a wall painting to 5 acorns for a song, or 30 and above for a background for one's homepage for a year.

Cyworld's daily revenue from selling "acorns" is estimated to be around USD $300,000, as of September 2005.

Korea’s Internet culture has embraced the Cyworld model, which differs from the blog culture of the United States. The simplicity of buying items to decorate one’s minihompy, without needing to learn HTML or Photoshop, has attracted many young women who had not previously used the Internet. This item-based business model has also bolstered Internet community sites that had previously struggled as free services.

The corporate world has also embraced Cyworld, with examples of companies creating minihompies to accompany product launches. Celebrities and politicians have also increasingly opted for minihompies, rather than homepages, to gain closer contact with the population.

In late-July 2006, Cyworld opened a U.S. version in a public beta with plans to officially launch in August. The site will eventually offer a music and mobile service, according to blog reports.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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