Orkut to take over MySpace?

Orkut logoAlexa has recently been improving the global coverage of their traffic statistics. Their Global 500 now shows a number of sites that have almost zero attention in the US market (e.g. Baidu, QQ, and Yahoo Japan). Many on this list had a negligible presence on Alexa a year ago, most likely due to their marketing of the Alexa Toolbar in foreign markets.

While I was looking at the list of top 10 global sites, one was extremely startling: Orkut, Google’s social networking service that has been extremely successful in Brazil. Since January of last year, Orkut has grown by a factor of 10, moving from a daily reach of 3,000 to 30,000 per million. Since MySpace’s traffic has been more or less constant over that time period, it’s not surprising that Orkut has covered some major ground towards being the world’s largest social networking service:

Orkut vs. MySpace 1 year

Looking more specifically at the race for top ranked social networking service, it appears that the two will be neck and neck from here on out:

Orkut vs. MySpace

Orkut gets no attention in the US market mainly because their US presence is tiny compared to Facebook, MySpace or even Friendster. If they take the number one spot worldwide, will Americans respond? Google paid $900M to be MySpace’s search provider, a partnership that might lead people to believe that their business interest in social networking was diminishing. Another explanation could be their interest in monetizing a mature social networking service while Orkut continues to grow. As the service continues to drive traffic globally, it is inevitable that the press will take notice, and Google can take this opportunity to grow their domestic user base.

I hadn’t logged in to Orkut for years, but upon returning I realized that very little has changed. Same strange photos, same hearts and ice cubes, same periwinkle-and-purple color scheme. Orkut’s growth reinforces the fact that the value of social networking services, and social software in general, comes from the base of active users, not the set of features they offer.

17 thoughts on “Orkut to take over MySpace?

  1. There’s a very simple answer to this: India.

    Orkut did a lot of things right and they were able to split into two groups based on similar patterns. They learned from what happened in Brazil and then launched in India. They’ve taken off at a ridiculous rate and the population there far exceeds that of Brazil. I don’t think that Orkut will ever work in the United States (which means American media will pretty much ignore it) but it’s working really well elsewhere.

  2. I’d be interested to hear your opinion for why Orkut will never work in the US? One would think that after taking in two different cultures, they could do the same in America, but also entirely possible that some American disposition prevents its success.

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  7. i am an indian i dont see any american…its because of the usability and information privacy rate…this rate is different to amricans and indians. hence with different usability GUI screens and features for american people it is possible for orkut experience success in USA.

  8. If orkut is going to be the biggest yet facebook is now about to overtake myspace. Facebook takes only a few months to do it. Look at alexa traffic reach you can see facebook is about to overtake myspace very quickly.

    I think facebook is going to be bigger

  9. India and Brazil are not going to help Orkut. Orkut needs some power countries like US, Europe, Japan etc. Even though Orkut is very popular in India and Brazil the value provided by the audiences there is not much. Because not many people will click on ads and do some shopping thereby providing ROI to the advertisers. On the contrary in US many people will. India and Brazil are just freebies and won’t add much value at least for now.

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