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Hungary: Facebook vs iWiW

It's not exaggeration to say that the debate running mostly by the title “Facebook vs iWiW” started a long time ago, with the registration of the first user from Hungary on the social networking site founded by Mark Zuckerberg. According to Facebakers.com, the number of Facebook users in Hungary is already 1,313,020 (with an online penetration of 22.15 %).

The Hungarian social networking site called iWiW (HUN), an abbreviation for International Who is Who, was launched in 2002, as Focus.com‘s timeline shows below.

Focus.com timeline

In 2006, Hungarian Telecom purchased iWiW, and by 2009, the site had 4 million registered users in a country of ten million.

As in every “new” country where the popularity of Facebook started to grow, the number of Hungarian users is increasing, too. Hírbehozó of Webisztán blog (HUN) reported (HUN) in March that the number of Hungarian users has reached one million:

[…] The reach of the psychological line in the case of a social networking service is not only a psychological advantage: it comes by the characteristics of these sites that they can move circles of acquaintances easily.

For this the number of users it needs to reach a critical mass when everybody has acquaintances who use the service actively.

Facebook has arrived to this level among Hungarian users. As it shows up from the data, by now there are some hundred thousand signing up in Hungary per month. And if this tendency didn't get better for some reason, still it would be very likely that at least by the end of the year almost every active Hungarian net user would be in touch with Facebook. […]

The blogger of Webisztán admitted that Facebook is still not on the very top of the country's top 100 ranking. According to Alexa.com the first is the Hungarian page of Google search, the second is YouTube and the third is still a Hungarian social networking site, iWiW.hu (HUN). Facebook's ranking is only #5.

[…] Not that it was such a problem in capitalism. But by all means it can lead to interesting realignments, motions in the market. From this point of view, Hungarian web has arrived to the termination of a period…

Doransky, who's dealing with online marketing, highlighted (HUN) the power of iWiW that makes it different from Facebook:

[…] Is there any web service in which there's a competitive edge of a cultural code? If there is, then the service which is based on the value of social connections could be that. Since the budget is similarly low. Facebook makes a drastic conversion almost every two months, which derives from the fact that 700 people are working on the system. It's the number of employees at the customer service in any European country, but not a whole company running with minimal customer relations.

The power of iWiW is still in the fact that you can find everyone and their uncle there from the web, it has a good friend search and it's good for exchanging information among people, which is totally enough for the majority.

Unlike a search engine, this network can't be conquered so simply because it's comprised mostly of the people who feel the local specialties and they got used to iWiW.

In another post (HUN), he added how it is important for iWiW to start facing Faceboook:

[…] If they do not accelerate, they will slowly suffer the fate of those services that were killed by Facebook. This happens so frequently nowadays that after the founder Zuckerberg people started to use his name as a verb: Zucked!

Konrád Berényi, a consultant in online marketing, published a post (HUN) titled “Harakiwiw,” criticizing Telekom, the owner of iWiW, not supporting their service in the competition for the Hungarian market of social networking sites:

[…] But I can draw it more harshly: T-Mobile doesn't give a hoot about the competition going on at home in the social media market, it follows the international trends and supports Facebook, either doesn't care about anything else or doesn't want to. And this won't take a turn for the better. If iWiW came out with an offer from tomorrow on, it could only be a silent follower. Facebook is the star, everybody wants its shine, while iWiW is the poor orphan: be-quiet, go-sit-in-the-corner, you-can-get-some-leftover.

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