Orkut Buyukkokten, the founder of the first ever Social Media platform Orkutn made a come back with his Newly launched Hello Network. His re-entry comes at a difficult times for the Social Media giants like Facebook and Twitter that are plaughed with issues of data breach and privacy concerns. Buyukkokten is quick to cashin on the situation with assurances of complete privacy and protection of personal information of Hello users.
He is super charged with the his users spending an average of 320 minutes per month with his platform. Recently, Orkut Buyukkoktenhad been touring India on a Business trip in-order to rope in investors to back him for the next phase of expansion.
Orkut Buyukkokten exclusively intertacted with tvnews4u.com and brief on his plans for Hello Network:
1) How does Hello Network differ or how is it unique when compared with other Social Media Platforms..?
Social media platforms today are great for broadcasting updates to friends and family, one-to-one messaging or address single-interest needs like dating. Their purpose is not to enable new authentic connections. Hello brings people together around shared interests and passions. It serves a very different purpose. Current social media platforms focus on people you already know where hello focuses on meeting new people and sharing what you love.
2) How is the response for Hello in India and International Market…?
The engagement on hello has been phenomenal. Our users spend 320 minutes a month on the average on our mobile app. We were able to get 100,000 new users in India just in a few weeks after we launched. We’ve been listening to our users very closely and have been making improvements for our user base in India.
3) You want brands to earn users trust instead of pay and use advertising format, do you think the marketers and digital agencies will have so much patience..?
Consumers don’t want to just feel marketed at. They want to feel that they are in a partnership with a company that produces a product or service that benefits them. And entrepreneurs know just how important it is to truly engage and connect with their customer base, and so it should be a positive experience for both sides.
4) Do you think a Consumer can be profiled just with his five interests..? Coz, even I wanted to choose few more, But I couldn’t…!
Users can join whatever communities they want across any personas – so they aren’t restricted in the interests they want to pursue.
Users can switch the 5 personas at anytime and the hello experience will be re-customized based on the personas. We all have a lot of interests, however, we all have limited time and the number of hobbies, passions, jobs we experience at a given moment is very limited. By given the option to select only 5 personas, our users pick the things they are most passionate about.
Also, by sharing your 5 most important passions, it makes it easier for other users to get to know you and realize they have things in common that could spark a friendship.
5) Could you throw some light on the “Karma Feature” for a better understanding..?
Users interact with others and also content on Hello. The interactions can be positive or negative. Based on the interactions a user gets, we determine their reputation in the system. A user can have different types of reputation based on the persona. For instance, you might be an expert in Sci-Fi and Bollywood movies and have a high reputation where as a newbie Runner and have a lower reputation. Some of the reputation is explicit and surfaces as Karma points. Users progress on hello by levelling up.
6) You want the user to earn Hellocoins to avail/unlock certain future while in all other Social platforms its free.. Won’t you think this annoys the user..?
We allow the purchase of coins in case people want to access our more limited features without waiting to earn them. Users don’t need to spend money to purchase Hello coins. We reward users with free coins as they progress and level up in the system.
The virtual currency also allows us to balance the system and enhance the user experience. For instance, we support anonymous posting on Hello. Because the feature requires spending coins, the users don’t abuse the feature and don’t overuse it.
7) Looks like tightening the noose of the users with ‘Too much of Policing with Jots… Personas… Communities…’ What you say..?
Users know best what is appropriate for their communities, and so our strategy is to use our karma/reputation system to make things easy for the community to police themselves.
8) Do you think Orkut was launched much ahead of the times… would have been more successful product in the age of Smartphone and Mobile Internet..?
orkut.com was designed and launched in a different era when people accessed everything on desktops and browsers. It was also a time when users were being exposed to social networks for the first time. Consumer sensitivity, technology, infrastructure, behavioral patterns have changed tremendously since orkut was launched. I think in the age of Smartphone and Mobile Internet, orkut would have been a different product. We designed Hello in a new era taking into account the current climate and generations.
9) As an expert who is much ahead of Facebook’s entry, What’s your take on the issues linking FB and ‘Catalyst Analytica’..?
I believe that social media companies need to be transparent about what they do with user data and who they share it with. Social media companies should focus on optimizing for user happiness instead of companies, advertisers and shareholders. Social software is all about people and users need to be the champions and come first.
10) While you may not be willing to reveal much… How is your hunt for the investors progressing in India…?
We have received interest, and along with Jet Synthesys, we are definitely interested in making additional partnerships and working with investors who share the vision of Hello to bring people together.