Cyworld should be best known for its mini hompy, but here in this blog I'm not reiterating on the concept of mini hompy since it's been written about on quite a few occasions already. For recent coverages on CyWorld minihompy, you can check out here, or . If you are not familar with Cyworld minihompy at all, you can start by consulting Wiki definition; Also, one of the earlier articles that got Cyworld better known to the world outside of Korea was perhaps this.

Here, I'd like to give a brief on Cyworld's other services that are probably lesser known outside of Korea. These services are arguably helping Cyworld evolve from a rather closed, walled garden type of service into a more open service that's truer to the spirits of Web 2.0.

1. Paper

The Paper, in essence, is CyWorld's blog and content syndication service. Paper gives you a blog authoring tool so you can publish your "Paper", i.e. a blog entry. The authoring can also be done from your own minihompy as well as from a typical weblog interface. When you publish your Paper entry, it gets updated and delivered to all subscribers via RSS. (Subscribing to a Paper is just one-click away.)

Content can also be syndicated to form a group page, called "PaperZine" (the term apparently comes from "Paper" + "Magazine".) Below is a sample PaperZine called "Leaders are Readers" -- each author writes book reviews on his/her blog or minihompy ("the edge"), not having to go to and log into a specific site ("the center"), and yet when syndicated out, those individual reviews together form a powerful archive of book reviews. Edge production meets collective intelligence.

Cyworld Paperzine

The Paper service is especially powerful because it's seamlessly connected with mini hompies. With over 17 million users, minihompy service is churning out fresh content every minute, if not second. Paper is based on open platform (blog and RSS) and is a great way to utilize and syndicate the outpouring content from mini hompies.

2. Town

Cyworld Town is a minihompy-based service targetted for SOHOs and other e-commerce shops. Blogs, when properly used, can be a great vehicle for promoting and selling products. For example, products can be described in a much more friendly and people-centric manner. This is what the Cyworld Town is trying to capitalize on.

Cyworld Town

The fact that Cyworld named this service "Town" suggests they might have had local e-commerce market in mind. IMHO, Cyworld Town will become much more interesting if Cyworld adds more Web 2.0 features, such as tag based syndication (Edgeio) or smart indexing/aggregation (Vast), product recommendation by minihompy owners (like, or mashup with map services like this (via Richard MacManus) so users can have something like Judy's book.

3. Club, Mini Ring, TeamPlay

Cyworld is a social networking service in its core and therefore supports various social networking features.

For starters, Cyworld offers the Club service, which helps minihompy users form groups. Club members can make use of various features of TeamPlay to effectively extend their online community into offline. TeamPlay offers features such as group scheduling and messaging, composing and sharing post-meeting notes, etc.

Mini Ring forms groups based on shared interests -- like does. From the latest list of Mini Ring tags, I found this: "Those who don't divide Ramen into two pieces before cooking it." 

Mini ring tags

I didn't go into all the details here, but Cyworld is definitely becoming more Web 2.0-ish and is accordingly getting more interesting.

It's reported that folks at Cyworld are busy launching the service outside of Korea as well. US and Europe will see their versions of Cyworld pretty soon. In fact the guy who's been spearheading the Cyworld US development happens to be my college buddy so I'll perhaps twist his arms and get some interesting inside stories out of him -- Of course I know until all things become public he'll stay tight-lipped.

PS. As of this writing, I'm getting a news that CyWorld is launching an online auction service. Beware, Ebay!