About the same time that Facebook was making it’s debut in the U.S.A. Orkut was making it’s debut in Brazil.
Orkut was named after its creator Orkut Büyükkökten, a google employee. This site was very popular, and widely used in Brazil. Over 90% of all page views had been accessed by users in Brazil.
Similar to other social networking sites, it allowed users to find similar communities. In the first 4 months of operation it gained over 50,000 communities and 12 months later had over 1,500,000 communities. Users could find old schoolmates, people they admire, co-workers, and people that shared similar interests.
By 2012, there was over 30 million users. Extremely popular with technology workers as well as students. It had an invite only membership.
The site was clean, easy to use. Friends could rate their friends on how cute, sexy, fun, or trustworthy they were.
Brazil quickly became deeply involved in on-line shopping. The country does not allow any outside type of advertising (billboards and the like). It is the 5th largest on-line shopping markets in the world. Brazil was one of the first countries where cell phones outnumbered the people. Where 77% of the population shops on-line, they use social media sites, to research products, and trust on-line contacts for word of mouth recommendations.
Brazilians want products and brands that allow you to blog about the products, play games, and want video included in the marketing.
Orkut was the leader of the pack. Well, sort of. It had it’s limitations too. These limitations closed down the site in 2014. With problems with the website, such as blockages, a limited amount of friends one could have. There were also difficulties in loading and sharing of photos.
In the end Orkut, though once so popular, could no longer meet the needs of its users. Unable to fix their problems, the site was shut down in September 2014. It has been replaced with other platforms that were culturally appropriate.
With any social media platform it is important that they stay appropriate not only to the cultures that they serve but to the users themselves. If the site becomes to burdensome, or no longer meets the needs or wants of the end-user, it will become irrelevant. We have seen this with the likes of MySpace and other platforms. Those that keep up with their users live on, to see another day.