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Cyworld minihompy
URL (US) (Korea)
Type of site Social network service
Available language(s) Korean, Chinese, Japanese, English, Vietnamese,
Owner SK Communications
Cyworld control room in Seoul, Korea. Operation of the site is monitored here by the staff of SK Communications.

Cyworld (Hangul: 싸이월드) is a social networking website launched on Sep 1, 1999. Cyworld is a South Korean web community site operated by SK Communications (Hangul: SK커뮤니케이션즈), a subsidiary of SK Telecom (Hangul: SK텔레콤). Literally translated, "Cy" can mean "cyber", but is also a play on the Korean word for relationship (Hangul: 사이 'between'), so it could also mean "relationship." Cyworld, much like an virtual space in the internet, which users can decorate their "home" and invite friends.

Members cultivate on- and off-line relationships by forming Ilchon (Hangul: 일촌, Hanja: 一寸) buddy relationships with each other through a service called "minihompy" (mini-homepage), which encompasses a photo gallery, video, message board, guestbook, friend list, and personal bulletin board. A user can link his/her minihompy to another user's minihompy to form a buddy relationship. It is similar to U.S. based Facebook and MySpace websites. Reports show that as much as 90 percent of South Koreans in their 20s [1] and 25 percent of the total population of South Korea are registered users of Cyworld [2] , and as of September 2005, monthly unique visitors are about 20 million [3].

Korean Celebrities are also known to have their own Cyworld.

Today, cyworld has extended its operation to the United States, China, Japan, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

In 2007 Cyworld launched an international social & photosharing youth community called thephotodiary -

The Swedish version of the site called has already gained nearly six million users.


[edit] Mini Life (similar to Second Life)

Cyworld offered an Internet-based 3D virtual worlds called "Mini Life" in July 2008 providing an advanced level of a social network service combined with minihompy.

[edit] Home2 (now called Blog)

After growing popularity of Minihompy, Cyworld offered a new service called Home2 in the beginning of 2007. Home2 is designed to offer more features than Minihompy, becoming more similar to other web blog sites. However due to the ongoing excessive popularity of Minihompy (the first blog), Home2 has not yet taken off in any significant way among Cyworld users.

[edit] Club

"Clubs" (Hangul: 클럽) are community rooms that users can create to discuss a specific topic. Furnishing a club is similar to furnishing a miniroom and requires purchases through acorns. Users also can search other users through clubs as well.

[edit] Paper

"Paper" (Hangul: 페이퍼) is Cyworld’s blog-like service. It provides blog-like platforms, but it is like Mail magazine rather than blog.

[edit] NateOn

Cyworld collaborates with to provide users with an instant messenger service. This service used to be compatible with MSN Messenger, which was the most widely used instant messenger service in Korea, but it is no longer compatible, and has nevertheless overtaken MSN Messenger in Korea. If Cyworld users buy BGMs or fonts with Dotori in Cyworld, they can use those through NateOn, too.

[edit] Dotori (called Acorn in Cyworld USA)

Cyworld uses its own virtual currency called “Dotori,” or “Acorn” (Hangul: 도토리; RR: dotori). One acorn costs 100 won. Prices vary from about 2 acorns for a wall painting to 6 acorns for a song, or 40 and above for a background for one's homepage for a year.

Cyworld's daily revenue from selling "acorns" is estimated to be around USD $300,000, as of September 2005.

[edit] Effects on Internet culture

Cyworld has had a big effect on Korea’s Internet culture, which differs from the blog culture of the United States. This item-based business model has bolstered Internet community sites that had previously struggled as free services.[citation needed] Many renowned Korean socialites and celebrities have been known to possess a cyworld account in which details of their upcoming tours and works are posted, such as the case with Korean icons such as Duk-In Joo, poet and author of the bestselling meaning of meanings novel.[citation needed]In South Korea young people, when meeting for the first time, ask for the other person's "cyaddress" instead of their phone number.

The corporate world has also used Cyworld, with examples of companies creating minihompies to accompany product launches.[citation needed]

In August 2006, Cyworld officially launched a U.S. version of Cyworld. While retaining many of the aspects of Cyworld that makes it unique among social networking sites, the U.S. version was redesigned by Native Instinct and Cuban Council to offer many new features and to appeal to an American audience.[4]

Also in 2006, Cyworld received the Wharton Infosys Business Transformation Award for its society-wide transformation of interpersonal interaction.

Cyworld undergoes a regular systemetic inspection once in a week for three to four hours aiming to provide better services for users. Despite this, there have been many internet crimes committed using the personal details that have been put on by the user. For example, in the 'profile' section of each homepage, people are likely to let others know their personal contact details including cell phone numbers, email address and even their home address which makes it easier for criminals to find a way to get what they want using that information.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

[edit] External links

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