Friday, February 18, 2011

Why orkut lost out to facebook??

Only last February, i didn't have a facebook account. But i did have an orkut account and all my friends(at least most of them) were pretty active on it.
And today,most of my friends quite like me, wont even check their orkut accounts and thats certainly not because there was a sudden realization they should be spending more time with their friends in person rather than 'scrapping' them. Its just that they decide write on their 'walls' instead.

Social networking quite clearly, is here to stay. I read a statistic somewhere that if facebook where a nation, it would be the second largest. Kids from primary schools to old -retired -grandpas have facebook account today.

It also now holds the credit for lending out a helping shoulder to the Egypt revolution. After all, it was all triggered by a 26 year old lady who shared a video of herself asking people to come to Tahrir square. What happened since is history.

So why did orkut loose out to facebook?? Quite clearly orkut had an early lead. The same thing happened when gmail was launched. Most of the people who had yahoo mails then switched to gmail and this was despite of the fact that gmail then really have any extra features to cause such mass migration.It was the brand effect. However in this case, brand effect was just one of the many reasons

Lets analyze some of the reasons why facebook overshot orkut in terms  user popularity.

1. Psychological factor:

Any human would want to be noticed. Thats human nature.
The only way you would be noticed in orkut is putting up your snaps. If that be removed, orkut is just about saying hello to your friends.
Facebook on the other hand presents you with ample of opportunities to be noticed. You write on your wall, which is liked or commented upon. The comments and like tempts similar people to do the same. And we being humans, its always nice to be noticed.

2. Games:

I joined facebook just to play Mafia wars. It was the same with lot of my friends. Like with anything monotonous, i gradually lost interest and so did most of my friends, but now i had a facebook account and as such i started logging in once in while, untill i became a daily user.
The whole point is that though you wouldn't have the same interest in those online games after a while, it serves its job of bringing more users. And once they join, the other features of facebook ensures that they stay.

3. Better brand:

I am not aware of a single celebrity who has a orkut account. On the other hand, there were many tv anchors, actors both big and small had facebook accounts. And as such, it has come to define a class in itself. Today  its  fashionable to say 'i am not on orkut, but am there on facebook'.  And who would mind if you get a better brand for without having to pay anything.

4. Better product:

Facebook is a far more quality product than orkut is. Many of the users who aren't active commentators on facebook just login to see the videos shared by other users. And once you share a video, it appears as news-feed so you don't have to each of your friend's wall to see what they have done. And that's just one of the feature. Facebook has got plenty of them and  that is perhaps the most important reason why its way ahead of orkut today. You can have all the above mentioned things in your favor, yet if you don't have genuinely good product, it will eventually not sell.

5. Regular Upgrades

Even the mightiest fort wouldn't survive if they don't adopt to changing trends and keep itself repairing. Not that Orkut didn't do, it was just that facebook was far better foresighted than them. They kept fixing their privacy issues, bought better games, better interface and they still continue to do it at a faster pace than their counterparts.

The above mentioned factors would pretty easily be the reason for any company's success over its counterpart. Kodak lost out to its peers because they were able to foresee the changes in the field of photography. Not just they didn't foresee, they refused to accept the changes even as its peers were busy spending millions of dollars on the new technology.

I read somewhere, that there is a lot of room at the top, yet no place to sit down. Orkut sat down for a moment and it lost out.