Orkut is relatively new to the social networking scene, launching in 2004. Owned and named after Orkut Büyükkökten, a Google employee (Mahoney & Tang, 2017, p. 191). The network was popular in the Brazilian market, until September 2014 when the network shut down. However, Orkut has returned though no longer operated by Google (Hello Network, 2020), which is now a community of over 300 million people.
Thought Orkut appears similar to many social networking sites, it had a different purpose. Originally set up for users to find communities via keyword search, such as titles, description, etc. Only 4 months after the launch, Orkut had over 50,000 established communities and within a year that number swelled to 1,500,000 (Mahoney & Tang, 2017, p. 192).
The network allowed users to connect with not just people that they knew, but people they admired as well (Mahoney & Tang, 2017, p. 192). However, at the time, Orkut was by invite only (sorted like Google’s Gmail service at the same time); which gave it a high prestige factor (Mahoney & Tang, 2017, p. 192).
At the beginning of this piece, it was mentioned that the site was a hit in the Brazilian market. It was also a major hitter for tech workers, being a site member became a status symbol; if you were a member you were connected to tech (Mahoney & Tang, 2017, p. 192).
The site’s interface, which some may also see as familiar, is clean, simple, and sophisticated, which makes it easier for users to navigate and join the various communities (Mahoney & Tang, 2017, p. 192). With features, that are reminiscent to MySpace, such as rating friends based on how sexy, cool, or trustworthy they found each other (Mahoney & Tang, 2017, p. 192).
Orkut boomed in Brazil, which has emerged at one the strongest online retailer markets and ranking 5th largest online market in the world (Mahoney & Tang, 2017, p. 192)! In a country where outdoor advertising is banned, online marketing has surged (Mahoney & Tang, 2017, p. 192). 77% of Brazilian social media users have positive attitude toward online shopping; 4/5 of them use social networking sites to research products; and social media users trust recommendations from online contacts more than other sources (Mahoney & Tang, 2017, p. 192).
Hello Network. (2020). orkut/hello. Retrieved November 1, 2020, from orkut.com: http://www.orkut.com/index.html
Mahoney, L. M., & Tang, T. (2017). Strategic Social Media: From Marketing to Social Change. Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom: Wiley Blackwell.