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Nasza klasa and facebook

Nasza Klasa was kind enough to invite me to their management presentation last week. Here are some comments.

Perhaps annoyingly to organizers, question on top of everyone’s mind was – not what is NK current performance – but rather how the site is going to compete with Facebook, which is gaining users and, even to higher extent, interest of the media.

Let’s face it, NK is beyond the stage of being media darling. It might not seem like a lot if every other week there is a story about a teacher fired for “inappropriate” profile picture, some impersonating someone else or some other trivia. But, what matters is that they talk about you, and not what they say.

Now, press is all about facebook and even twitter, recently, as politicians use it to create their teacup storms (funny enough, one of such recent events was apparently due to politician not knowing how to use twitter correctly, ie. the fellow thought he’s sending a private message).

Facebook, an elephant in the room

Not even once word Facebook was mentioned in management’s presentation.

Also, all numbers shown were devoid of any comparison to other sites.

Surely enough, first (heavily loaded) question was about NK falling behind FB.

NK says FB progress is overblown. It’s been “already a year” since it is available in Polish version, and it has gained “only 2 million users” (other sources say something about 3m). NK has ~ 14m active monthly users.

Well, 2m in one year doesn’t look like such a small amount.

For good or for bad, NK is not Facebook

Facebook:

  • High end market (educated, younger people)
  • Global player
  • Everything in one feed
  • Open API, anyone can use the platform

Nasza Klasa:

  • Mass market
  • Local player
  • Functionalities are presented separately
  • API will be restricted, NK blessing will be required

NK is evolving (slowly)

It’s been couple of years already since Nasza klasa moved away from its “classmates” roots to “communication platform”.

In fact, “Nasza klasa” brand will shift to simply “NK”.

In contrast to FB, which proved ready to pull carpet from under its users in terms of exposing them to new functionalities, NK is taking it slowly. It has an evolutionary approach – it waits and sees what works. As it claims, long term planning (and long term for NK is one year) is a poor fit for their business.

Products long available on FB will be rolled out on NK this year. Like Groups. API – but strictly controlled. Games. Targeted ad campaigns based on user’s profile info, like the high school he finished (this one is so obvious it actually seems strange it took so long).

Onet or myspace

Leapfrogging users with products ahead of the time can be disastrous. Netscape’s poor performance with aping digg is one example.

And NK users are not known to be open for change.

NK hints that it focuses on what really matters, the mass market, regardless of FB hype in the media. Just like onet, which is boring, but ubiquitous, and pumps money at a steady rate.

In fact, monetizing its wide audience seems to be main focus for NK at the moment.

An unpleasant alternative to onet would be myspace case, which was left in the dust by FB and is trying make a living in its music niche.

NK is being wise by learning on mistakes of newcomers before migrating novelties, gradually, to its conservative, but profitable user base. Or, it is educating its users in social media basics, who then, impatient, will leave it for better alternatives.

Other posts after the meeting:

Presentation from the meeting:

Ogito (soft) launched!

Today is my birthday and aside from this fact, I’m writing to announce that the project I’ve been working on for some time already, called Ogito, is now accessible to the public!

Even though it’s a pretty early version.

Visit it at http://www.ogito.eu, if everything goes fine you should see something like this:

Ogito full screen

As a matter of fact it was open for something like a week already, but I wanted to fulfill some common requests of people who saw it first. Like, that it should work on Windows. Now it works (I think), even in internet explorer! (update: unless it’s IE 6 or 5.5. then not so much. thanks for a tip Elena:)

So what it does?

Main aim is to explore opportunities to invest your free time.

Like in “use every moment”.

It will have a broad range of content – not only mainstream ones, like movies & theaters, but also less common activities, like voluntary works. The stuff it presents will come with accurate information, including exact (personalized) prices.

The content will be easily searchable, so you can look, for example, into theater shows one month ahead or find israeli movies played right now in your city.

On top of this it comes with community and personalization features.

What of all this is available now?

Everything mentioned is represented, even though in often basic shape. So, for content we start with movies in all Poland and theaters in Warsaw, search works as described but not full text yet, there are profiles and comments but not yet ability to follow other people, etc.

Anyway, see for yourself. Granted, it will improve almost daily. Use the “walkthrough” link on the right for some quick help.

Main message: send me feedback what you think!

And drop by once in a while to see changes. Coming soon: concerts and events data from Eventim.

Kokos will cooperate with Allegro

Kokos, one of the social lending sites in Poland, announced that it started cooperation with Allegro, the dominant online auction player (through antyweb).

According to the research that we did (Accenture and Gemius), this is a rather promising idea for Kokos – Allegro is the top site that potential borrowers actively use (i.e. visit at least once a week):

(there is similar data for potential investors, among which Nasza Klasa has better penetration)

The full report will be public shortly, also in an English version.

Monetto partners with Nasza Klasa, should they go with Goldenline instead?

More recent post: Nasza klasa and facebook

Monetto was kind enough to send me their press release, announcing partnership that they concluded with Nasza Klasa (Polish equivalent of classmates, but more of a Facebook phenomenon in terms of popularity).

Not that I could do anything with the material while in the Ukraine, but still a point for their PR.

One curious thing is the homepage screen shot they attached to the press release.

20082008 Monetto homepage.jpg

Some static elements are evidently in a “draft” state at the moment, and it’s not clear if the core functionality (transactions) has the same status. Placeholder for press snippets shows that Monetto has really high hopes. Folks at bankier should take note.

20080205 Monetto napisaonas.gif

Back to the main point. From the press I understood that:

  • Monetto signed letter of intention with Nasza Klasa regarding the partnership, which will work as the following (in my understanding) –
  • Users of Nasza Klasa will be able to “confirm” their profile using Monetto capabilities (more info on blog entry: “test” money transfer and sending ID scans by email)
  • Additionally, NK user will be able to indicate on his profile that he wants lend/borrow money
  • Nasza Klasa hopes that it will improve credibility of the service (validation of profiles) and reduce problem of fake profiles
  • Monetto hopes that users redirected from Nasza Klasa will in part get interested in P2P lending and use its intermediation
  • The actual contract between two sites has not been signed yet

Meanwhile the release was picked by Gazeta Wyborcza, which reprinted it, without hesitating to spin the point about raising Nasza Klasa credibility to describe it as a site which “more and more often raises mixed feelings”. Get over it, Gazeta.

But in the end they comment that the deal has a high potential for both sites and can harm competitors a lot and especially kokos.pl.

My first thoughts on the deal below.

(read more…)

Our class

Nasza klasa (“our class”) Polish social networking site meant to reunite former classmates, is getting much hype recently, judging from how many of my friends signed up.

At the moment 10 people of one of my former classes are represented, out of total of ca 30.

Thanks to the site, the 9 of them learned today that their colleague, and my co-worker, Magda, died yesterday in a car crash while driving back from her vacation.