Update 1: For you guys who wanna be a Vietnamese Facebook, check out the press room of Facebook, esp. this timeline - quite interesting to know that orginal Facebook didn’t even have the Wall feature.
Update 2: The email from Mark Ford: A TGB guy.
Many exciting new sites came through my eyes these days, just don’t have time to blog about them (Check out upcoming events in Vietnam for geeks). But HarryD did a nice coverage about Thegioiban and other gamers in FB clone bandwagon. Well, this bandwagon is getting hot, and it’s burning me!!!!!
As far as I know, Thegioiban (TGB) is one of 2 new guys joining Facebook clone bandwagon. The other guy is YouSecond (YS). Anhyou (former Anhone) is supposed to be another FB clone but I’m still waiting for an invitation from Mr. Khoi Pham. ‘Til now it has nothing to show at its front page.
FaceViet, TGB and YS have surprisingly many things in common. Both sites were built on SocialEngine - a pretty famous software for Facebook clone. Both sites are run by overseas Vietnamese or overseas students, mostly from the US. And both sites are not well funded by any deep pocket venture capital at least until now (please correct me if I’m wrong). But they have different approaches and perspectives.
The biggest and oldest player FaceViet was launched in Oct 2007 and hasn’t made any big thing so far. FV team was pretty motivated at first but now everyone seems to be quite busy with his/her own job. FV’s high profile and well-educated users was the point to atract me at first but it’s also the fatal weakpoint for itself. Initial users those were supposed to orient user behaviors and help new users get used with the site were all founders’ friends. They used English with each other, talked about their own stuff and weren’t willing to make friends with people from lower background. Well, still remember FV is a Facebook clone for Vietnamese common use? Thanh Le, FV founder once told me that FV targeted mobile platform. An interesting approach for monetization ‘cos mobile is seen super potential considering 40 millions mobile users in Vietnam. Do you still keep that in mind or you already have another plan, Mr. Thanh?
YS is a YouNet Solution’s baby, launched about 5 months ago. It didn’t catch my attention at first but after some chats with Hoa and Ryan, I found the idea of building YS community based on REAL communities (like Thanh Nien House of Culture) really smart!!!!! Hey you guys, I like your forum 2.0 concept. It may take more time but you can be sure of users’ quality and loyalty. Just make sure you have a sustainable financial plan and keep your fire in heart. Let’s see how far you can go.
TGB impressed me by its exellent code + design (you can say well-customized SocialEngine) and the speed even though it’s hosted in the US. I greatly appreciate your efforts, your team esp. Mark with a great sense of humor and Spanish, but to be honest, I can’t see any difference in your site. Could you please tell me about that?
Update 2: Ya, Mark Ford sent me an interesting email after my question. There’s no secret here so I think it’s no problem to put it here.
You have asked a really good question, but a really hard one to answer at the moment, nonetheless, I will endeavour to respond accordingly.
“but to be honest, I can’t see any difference in your site. Could you please tell me about that?”
As you could probably see, the site is still under development by Thang Nguyen. To date, Thang has been working on some of the features that SocialEngine currently offer, but after discussions, we do realise that there is something missing and we brainstorm each other everyday trying to come up with the missing “link” if you pardon the pun. Following the demise of Yahoo360, and the current “in thing” in Vietnam still being blogging, we are looking at ways to perhaps fill that void, but let me tell you, its one heck of a large void to fill, but something that we are aiming towards. Any ideas that we are currently toying with, without their implementation, I’m not ready to go into at this stage, but stay tuned for updates.
One of the areas that we are looking at now is also ensuring that our back end is robust enough to manage Users and to ensure that if they POKE us, we’re there to be poked and can respond in a prompt efficient manner whether its in Vietnamese or English. This is where our geographical locations comes in handy, there is usually one of us, if not both of us around.
You also pointed out something that is quite important for us and that is the speed at which the site delivers even though the servers are hosted in the US. That is a trade secret at the moment, but as you can see its working quite well.
You may have question about the other guys. Nothing special.
Tamtay was brought back to the stage after IDGVV investment. As far I know, Tamtay was first built to be a Facebook clone but I just don’t know what exactly it is now with thousands pics of hot girls. Music? Film? Pics? SNS? Blog? Tamtay Chat? But what IDG brought to Tamtay seemed to be not only money but a whole new blow. Tamtay is doing some big changes on its strategy and staff, to concentrate more than community. Frankly, I don’t have much partiality for this site since it blocked my account just b/c my duplicate messages (my internet connection was terrible at that time) without any notice or explanation. Such a service!
Guongmat is another Facebook clone built on SocialEngine. Nothing special.
Zoomban was dead. And is there anybody using Vietnamese version of Facebook?
Did I forget anything?
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