Cyworld US Goes Live; Impact?

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cap-10008.pngCyworld, a MySpace-style social network with a tight (and apparently working) business model and concept undoubtedly has had a huge monopoly over Korea's <20 youth, ever since its launch. Now they're planning to expand worldwide, and where better to start than the U.S. where MySpace is in the same position as Cyworld is back home. Just today they announced their launch of Cyworld U.S.

The U.S. market is seemingly different to the Korean so they couldn't just translate their Korean version into English and expect it to work, because there would be a 99.99% of it not working. The concept of 'minihompes,' where every Cyworld user has one and they can pay real money, get it converted to acorns (Cyworld's currency), and decorate their minihompes with things has been a huge success back in Korea, although with things like Second Life in the U.S doing relatively the same thing but also going way way beyond Cyworld's technology it's highly questionable as to how well it will do.

In the U.S versions 'minihompes' (which I'm guessing means something in Korean) are called 'minirooms' and each user, along with his or her miniroom, also gets 'minime' which is basically an avatar. Like the Korean version, users can still obviously decorate all this and the concept of acorns is still alive. One thing I have noticed, however, is that their pricing structure in the Korean version is relatively much more expensive than in the U.S, and this is a good thing.

All this said, I wonder how much impact this will end up having on the U.S market: will it rise and succeed like its Korean version or will it just be known as 'another idea that worked somewhere else but failed to create any ripples here.' To me, it's so far looking like the second one, although obviously if there's one thing we know, kids everywhere — whether in Korea or the U.S — are still kids.

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