8 Articles for 'Blog'

  1. 2009/02/27 See? I told ya Asian bloggers are different (3)
  2. 2008/04/07 Cyworld to launch a blog service
  3. 2008/01/23 The French (Blog) Connection (7)
  4. 2007/11/26 LG launches a corporate blog for digital TVs
  5. 2007/10/04 "Meet the Bloggers" - new media makes the upcoming Korean presidential election more interesting (4)
  6. 2007/09/12 Kia Buzz - the latest addition to a corporate PR blog (4)
  7. 2006/08/10 Web 2.0 and the "Sleeping Pills In The Closet" Effect (4)
  8. 2006/05/17 Tatter & Company, THE company to watch: Part 1

See? I told ya Asian bloggers are different

Web 2.0 | 2009/02/27 14:36 | Web 2.0 Asia

A Seoul-based blog marketing company called Blogyam published "Blogosphere Insight", a report on Korea's blog users. The report looked at more than 57,000 blogs from 7 major blog services (Naver, Daum, Tistory, Egloos, Empas, Joins.com blog, Chosul Ilbo blog), and 13 million blog posts - quite extensive coverage, hence a good credibility, I guess. 

First of all, in Korea, teens were the biggest age group among bloggers, and overall there were more female blolggers than male bloggers. Remember the figures do NOT count Cyworld minihompies - we are talking about *blogs* (think Bloggers and Voxes.)

This was a bit surprising to me as most bloggers I know are guys. But the report shows this is indeed the case for my age (30's). Bloggers in their thirties are 70% male, 30% female; However, for teen bloggers it's exactly the reverse - 70% girls, 30% boys. In the picture blow, blue graph represents female, while the pink part represents male. (Who said pink is for girls?)

In terms of blog topics, music came out as the most topular theme. It was followed by daily musings, animation/manga, photos, game, travel, movies, IT/computer, and so on. Interestingly enough, Japan was one of the major topics, with nearly 2% of blogs touching the topic. It is observed that Korean bloggers usually like to write about casual topics, such as entertainment and daily musings, rather than serious topics. 

Posting behavior of Korean bloggers also turned out to be different from that of the US bloggers. Among all blog posts, a whopping 69% had at least one photo/image in the them. Nearly 20% of all posts had either video or music embedded in the post too. 

69% of blogs have photo

18.6% of blogs have music/video

However, only 22% of all posts were text-only blogs. This shows Korean blogging involves heavy use of multimedia files. In one way or another, the Korean way of blogging is turned out to be different from that of the US - and I assume this would be the case for other Asian cultures as well. 

Text-only: 22%

Cyworld to launch a blog service

Web 2.0 | 2008/04/07 20:45 | Web 2.0 Asia
Cyworld is launching a blog service (link in Korean) - well, technically, they're not launching a new service, but changing the name of their existing Home2 service. With their "Cyworld Blog" initiative, Cyworld might add more features down the road, but at least for the time being, the change seems pretty cosmetic.

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What is Home 2? As the suffix "2" tells, Cyworld has made a longtime effort to bring forth an upgraded version of their popular yet aging (i.e. slow growth) minihompy service. As popular as minihompy service was, Cyworld knew that nothing can be popular forever and they had to come up with the new engine of growth.

So they put together a team of brilliant strategists (including Marc Canter of the US, it's widely known) and spent numerous hours on brainstorming sessions. The service that came out of that effort was Cyworld Home 2 (out in spring 2007) - which was essentially a blog service with some robust frontpage editing features (widgets, page addition, etc) and 1-chon (Cyworld's friend system).

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However, Home 2 service never really clicked with the Cyworld minihompy users. Minihompy users didn't perceive the more blog-like Home 2 service as the natural next step to their minihompies and therefore didn't rush to Home 2. The fact that Home 2 was packed with all the bells and whistles also meant the service didn't have a very clear focus. When introduced to Home 2, minihompy users were like, "ok, so why am I supposed to use this?"

So Home 2 was by and large a flop, but to make matters worse, the situation isn't all that rosy for the minihompy service either - it's under a double threat of a) decreasing traffic in its domestic Korean market and b) struggle in virtually all foreign markets it entered into.

Which is why the re-naming of Home 2 to Cyworld Blog seems to have come from desperation rather than from a well-devised strategy.

Cyworld is perhaps undergoing a textbook case of innovator's dilemma: Once great, now slowly aging. Massive self-reinvention effort in the name of Home 2 didn't exactly succeed. Again, if you were Cyworld CEO, what would you do? Certainly a nice brain-teaser.

The French (Blog) Connection

Web 2.0 | 2008/01/23 12:17 | Web 2.0 Asia
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This morning I gave a presentation on the blog media trends of Korea, in front of a dozen executives from major French media companies. I could easily recognize their company names - Le Figaro, Le Monde, Marie Claire, etc.

They were particularly impressed by some of the points I mentioned:
  • The #1 movie blog in Korea has a higher traffic than the #1 traditional movie website's
  • The combined traffic to our federation of blogs (comprising of about 75 A-list bloggers) surpasses that of a well-known newspaper website
  • A Korean blogger, who used to be a simple housewife just a few years ago, is now so famous that Austrailian government turned to her to officially promote Austrailian beef in Korea
  • Last year, our company could invite presidential candidates with only 50 bloggers - In the past, could we imagine a presidential candidate spending ever-valuable two hours with only 50 people? These days, bloggers are media company CEOs and nobody treats them lightly.
Thanks again to my good old friend Benjamin for organizing this.
TAG Blog, France

LG launches a corporate blog for digital TVs

Web 2.0 | 2007/11/26 22:36 | Web 2.0 Asia
LG Electronics recently launched a blog dedicated for its HDTV product line. In Korea, LG uses the "X-Canvas" sub-brand for high-end HDTVs and the blog is accordingly called the "X-Canvas TV Blog".

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A quick look at the recent entries include: "Introduction to Time Machine Feature" (a product feature of X-Canvas TV that records live TV broadcasting to hard disk for later playback), "X-Canvas takes the world", "X-Canvas TV commercial", "Tips on using HDMI slot", etc.

Just like the Kia Buzz blog introduced here a few months ago, LG X-Canvas blog tries to send marketing messages using a more human voice.

Man, who would have thought digital TVs will get their own blogs? So what comes next, a blog for lipsticks?
TAG Blog, LG, X-Canvas
A presidential election is certainly a boon for the media industry, in any countries. Elections also often serve as a launch pad for the "new media" - a good example is Ohmynews, which rose to the fame helped by the '02 presidential campaign.

That's why many new media companies in Korea, often called the "UCC (User-created Content) companies", are eyeing squarely for the upcoming presidential election. One such example is the recent "Meet the Bloggers" where a presidential candidate, Mr Kuk-hyun Moon, had an open conversation with 50+ bloggers. (Note: the event was run by our company.)

The whole event was televised real-time via Gom TV, a leading online video service. According to Gom TV, Meet the Bloggers was the first non-entertainment program that made to the top 10 most popular programs list. It will be interesting to see which UCC companies will capitalize on the upcoming national election most successfully.

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I and Mr Moon, a Korean presidential candidate

(Photo in courtesy of Bklove)
TAG Blog, media

Kia Buzz - the latest addition to a corporate PR blog

Web 2.0 | 2007/09/12 00:22 | Web 2.0 Asia
(Via Junycap) Kia Motors launched an official blog called "Kia Buzz", apparently in partnership with the famous PR firm Edelman.

Here's a quote from the blog:

Kia BUZZ is Kia’s official blog for sharing information on Kia vehicles, news, information and opinions.  Kia BUZZ is written by a wide range of Kia experts and management from across the organization to help bring Kia closer to its customers, industry opinion leaders and car enthusiasts.

For those who aren't familiar with the car brand, Kia is a sister company of Hyundai, Korea's largest and world's top 10 car company.

Kia tries to distinguish itself from its older sibling by putting on a more younger and sportier image. That could be a reason why Kia is launching this blog marketing initiative before Hyundai did. But frankly, most of the times, it's pretty darn difficult to separate Kias from Hyundais, because they share many parts.

The blog is actually surprisingly good. For starters, the CEO himself wrote a post. Assuming from the lack of ponytail, Mr Chung isn't exactly Jonathan Schwartz, and I'm thinking it was probably his secretary rather than Mr Chung himself who wrote this post. But the fact that there's a post from the Big Man himself adds a lot of credibility to this blog and sends out the message that Kia is pretty serious with its blog.  

It looks that various Kia insiders from around the world will pick up the slack and chime in with a post or two. And the real-life stories from Kia men could perhaps be the most powerful and resourceful marketing messages. For example, the post written by Michael Choo, International PR manager, made me actually want to buy the Pro_Ceed.

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The site however tries to preload video clips, which can make the site look frozen while the videos get loaded. But that's the problem from the video hosting company not Kia's.
Executive summary: The UGC (User-Generated Content) service providers, if they aim to be a truly open service, should provide an option to the users so they can take their own data and content out of the service anytime they want. This will give peace of mind to the users, who are increasingly concerned about data lock-in. This open approach will actually increase user loyalty, quite contrary to the common belief of the service providers that a high barrier of exit will deter customer churn.

When I was in college, at one time I suffered from a mild insomnia for about 2 months, mainly from the back injury.

When I went to see a doctor, he gave me some sleeping pills, but he didn't tell me to take them - instead he said, "the idea that you have these sleeping pills in your closet and that you can take those pills anytime you want will give you peace of mind, which will help you fall asleep."

And you know the rest of the story - it went as the doc said. I didn't have to take a single pill and yet could sleep well, I guess from the peace of mind.


Now let's call this a "sleeping pills in the closet effect", short for "peace-of-mind-from-knowing-the-sleeping-pills-are-in-the-closet effect" ;)

I think this "sleeping pills in the closet effect" has to do with Web 2.0. (I can hear you say, "duh"?)

Web 2.0 is all about user generated content (UGC) and collective intelligence. But do the user generated content truly belong to the users?

Using a common sense, when something belongs to me completely, that means I can move it around the way I want to, whenever I want to. In other words, a measurestick for a truly open UGC service is whether or not the service provider allows users to take their content somewhere else whenever they want to.

Is this the way it is around the industry? Heck no. The barrier of entry for any UGC service is very low - signup is like 2 clicks away. But the barrier of exit, on the other hand, is invariably very high. Does Myspace give you all your data in one neat package when you tell them you are done with the service and now want to get out? No.

Let's say you have used Myspace for 2 years. The only way you can take your 2 years worth of content out of Myspace would be to go over the grinding steps of copying and pasting your blog entries and saving all the pictures by right clicking on each of them and choosing "save the picture as..."

Apparently, service providers are thinking that the more content you have on their service, and the more difficult it is to take those content out, then chances are you will probably give up on any thought of moving out and just stick with the service. This "user retention through data lock-in" might be just what the service providers want. Why?

UGC services are making money, in the form of advertisement and others, off the user content - more users, more amount of UGC, more ad revenue. But as pointed out by people like Scott Karp all the time, no portion of that revenue goes back to the users. In this sense, users are being exploited by the UGC service providers.

It's my content, from my memories in my life - and yet I can't take my content out of the service provider easily, because my content is busy making money for the service provider. This is not good.

Why can't I see a service provider that lets me take my content in a neat package whenever I want to? All the blog entries in a nice MS word or HTML format, all images in JPEGs, and so on - all my content packaged into one single zip file, ready to be transported.

Then I would be able to back up this single zip file, the priceless record of my life accumulated over the last n years, in multiple locations -- on my PC, on my hosted account in the data center, etc.

You want to back up your life record in multiple places, because you never know what will happen. Earthquakes. Service providers going down. You name them.

Recently Netian.com, one of the second-tier internet portal sites of Korea (still with millions of users), shut down without much prior notice, and for days, users were not even sure whether or not they could get their data back. If this kind of thing happens, the last thing I want would be to see my own data sinking down the water along with the service provider.

Service providers are afraid that if the barrier of exit is low, everyone will pack their stuff and move out whenever there's a new, better service. But just because I know I can take my content away anytime doesn't necessarily mean I actually take my content away all the time.

In fact, knowing the service provider allows me to take my content away anytime will give me the similar sort of "peace of mind", as suggested by "the sleeping pills in the closet" effect.

And, just as I didn't actually take any of the sleeping pills, I think the chances of users actually taking their content away from a service provider are very slim -- given that the service provider always strives to be ahead of competition in terms of service quality and innovations.

If the service provider is a sucky one, people will go away no matter how difficult it is to move their data. High barrier of exit doesn't automatically translate into customer retention -- we see this all the time in the mobile service industry.

Mena Trott of Six Apart said blogs will evolve into a platform on whichpeople will archive and present 20 years worth of content. Let's face it: If I'm talking about 20 years worth of my content, I'll definitely want to make sure a) it doesn't go anywhere and b) I have a full control over it. Ensuring these would be a must-have, not a good-to-have feature to be provided by the UGC service providers.

I hope more UGC and Web 2.0 service providers will think along these lines.
TAG Blog, sleeping pills, UGC, Web 2.0

Tatter & Company, THE company to watch: Part 1

Web 2.0 | 2006/05/17 00:09 | Web 2.0 Asia

Tatter and Company is best known for its blogging tool, Tattertools, the leading blog tool of Korea. FYI this very blog is running on Tattertools, and so are about 360K other blogs (according to the company).

Key products of Tatter and Company are Tattertools and Eolin (Pronounced "Yee-O-Lean"). Part 1 of this blog will cover Tattertools, while Eolin will be profiled in Part 2.

Eolin is not a front-end service, but is a backend data framework for distributing, syndicating, and monetizing UCC (user created content). Major features include sync to portals and search engines, anti-spam, media syndication and group blogging ("guilds"), commerce API to enable social commerce, etc.

Eolin is still pretty much in the cooking, but I've been introduced to its concept (which I am not allowed to disclose). Eolin is fantastic, but even without Eolin (that leaves only Tattertools blog tool), the Korean media is already endowing the coveted moniker of "Leading Web 2.0 company of Korea" (link in Korean) to this company.


Tattertools is an installed blog tool, comparable to Wordpress or Moveable Type. The company will also offer Tistory.com, a web-based hosted blogging service (like Typepad), starting from late May in partnership with Daum (a Korean web portal giant who also owns Lycos).

If you are an English speaking guy, you might say "What's up with the name?" The guys who initially named this blog tool apparently didn't know the English word "tatter" often carries negative connotation (as in "The poor boy was in tattered clothes") but anyhow the brand is now famous in Asian market. Besides, the word sounds the same as Korean phrase meaning "Big Ground (Plaza)".

So what's so special about Tattertools blog platform? Firstly, Tattertools provides ultimate freedom of customization. The "skin" (ie. the design of your blog's facade) is expressed as independent resource files, meaning you can copy/paste and edit your skin right on Dream Weaver. You can play with the looks of your blog at your will, without touching the functional aspects. As a result, there are many sites that do not look like blog sites at all but have in fact been built with Tattertools.

The dashboard (admin page) is dead easy to use and offers very efficient environment for entry composing and media file uploading (pictures, podcasts and videos, etc). You insert a media file clip, and the blog automatically generates flash viewer on your blog so the visitors can play back the media easily. Pinging blog entries to syndication site is one-click away (There's an AJAXy button on the dashboard.)

Another major advantage of Tattertools is its strong market presence in Asia. The tool is available in major Asian languages (Chinese, Japanese, Korean) as well as in English. Tattertools blog has also seen its use in some major corporate sites such as Samsung Mobile and Ohmynews, suggesting its high scalability.

Tattertools offers mobile site as well: Adding "/m" at the end of any existing blog URL gives you a mobile blog page, with exactly the same content on the web, only optimized for mobile browser. Tattertools is an open source application (GPL). As of this writing, there are about 180 active members in development community and about 150 plug-ins.

The Company

Tatter and Company has 7 in-house engineers and is being headed up by Chester Roh, who was intelligent enough to not only make it to KAIST (nicknamed MIT of Korea), but also hack the server of a rival school (POSTECH). After spending short period of time behind the bars for this incident, Roh came of age and decided to use his talents for computer security (from hacker to security expert -- what a dramatic turn, sounding like "Catch Me If You Can" the movie). The security company he co-founded, Inzen, went public in 2002.

Tatter and Company has not taken any venture funding yet, and is now seeking an outside investment. Given that comparable US and Chinese companies have all succeeded in funding (Six Apart $12M for 3rd round; Automattic $1M 1st round; Blogchina $10M 2nd round; Toodou $8.5M 2nd round), I would expect Tatter and Company should be able to get some VC money if they can present their company right.


Is a blog company eligible for being a Web 2.0 venture? I believe so, the main reason being that blogs are the main tool for edge creation of content. As Mena Trott of Six Apart (which itself is largely undisputed as a Web 2.0 company) said in a recent interview, when it comes to the tool for caching 20 years of life records, nothing comes closer than blogs.

As I already said, Tatter and Company is a two-headed monster, with the second head being the Eolin. I can't wait to profile Eolin platform. But even only with Tattertools, this company is a winner and well worth a look for investors.

TAG Blog, tattertools, Web 2.0