Heard of the social media giant Orkut?
It’s no wonder if you hadn’t, or don’t remember it. Orkut was Google’s first foray into social media. Born in 2004, when social media was just kicking into high gear, Orkut was designed to connect people within communities. It had a great approach – invitation only, adding an added dose of true connection on the early internet. Orkut’s website had that cute, early 2000s style – pastel colors and bright bubble fonts.
Another reason Orkut might not seem familiar is that the cast majority of its audience came from Brazil. While the rest of us built up our home pages on MySpace and added friends on Facebook, Orkut users became members of communities that resonated with them and used these communities to share ideas and get recommendations.
Orkut started out on top of its game. People were drawn in by the connection to Google, the prestige of an invitation-only community, and the opportunity to connect with their peers in school and in technology. One particular feature Orkut maintained was the ability to rate people on various aspects of their looks or personality.
Brazil banned outdoor print advertising in 2007, which made it all the more necessary for companies to transition to an online sales approach. Orkut was the perfect opportunity to move advertising to local consumers. In 2017, Brazil had the 5th largest online market in the world, and had more cell phones than people.
Like most things, Orkut needed to advance with the times or step aside. Media across the internet was becoming easier to share. Photos, videos, and more could be posted with a few clicks. Rick rolls were in high supply.
Unlike its competitors, Orkut couldn’t keep up. Its systems weren’t built to handle the massive photo and video sharing volume happening all over the internet, and so, dissatisfied with their previous social networking love, Orkut’s users went elsewhere. Listening to the suggestions and complaints from their users could have prevented Orkut’s eventual downfall. Building up their media sharing and eliminating the friend list limits were just two of the ways that Orkut could have adjusted alongside the market and kept what was once a social media empire going strong.
Nowadays, Brazil has bypassed print advertising laws by showing adds on bus terminal screens, or digital billboards, but online shopping and advertising is stronger than ever. Brazil could have greatly benefited from a stronger effort from Orkut. It goes to show that listening to your users and implementing changes is a necessary component of any online presence. Whether you are a vendor looking to sell your own product, building your individual brand, or starting your own company, it is important to listen to the feedback you receive, interact with questions if necessary, and continue to build and develop what you have created.