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Orkut.com Social Networking Engine in affiliation with Google

 3:18 am on Jan 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

Orkut.com is an online community that connects people through a network of trusted friends. [searchenginewatch.com...]

All employees at Google are allowed to spend twenty percent of their time working on personal interests, a policy Google has to encourage creativity. Buyukkokten had an interest in social networking and so developed his service, Google says. Now the company has decided to open it to the public.

The move comes in the wake of rumors that Google wanted to buy social networking service Friendster last year and just a day after Eurekster launched, a social network service that refines search results. Is this a sign that Google plans to use social networking for search?



 9:08 pm on Jan 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

Friendster and the sites like that are nothing more then a excersize in viral marketing. They create a ton of hype, get a ton of PR and then signup millions. But nearly all of those signups are from people who visited the site once and never went back.

I run a site in this field with over 30,000 users and converting friends of friends into active members is hard!, but when you have millions of signups a small percentage of that sure makes for a lot of active members.


 9:21 pm on Jan 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

orkut.com sent out an initial 12,000 invitiations. To whom I have no idea... no one I know got one... and I know some serious "net folks"!


 9:29 pm on Jan 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

Okay, on a different topic, how about hypothesizing about Google's potential revenue stream from Orkut in the future? :)

The obvious angle is AdSense of course, especially an AdSense tuned to a combination of:
- interests of the person searching (based upon both his profile, and the profiles of those he affirmatively browses)
- interests of the person he's browsing
- interests of the people he's messaged
- interests of his friends


But what about non-ad revenues?

People undoubtedly pay a lot for AdWords and also (I'd assume) Google Answers.

Would folks be willing to pay (CPM or CPC or AdWords-style) to buy 'DateWords' or "BusinessWords', showing their profile in a special column on the righthand side when people search for specific words?

How about paying to message extended contacts (anyone beyond friend-of-friend level)?

Perhaps Orkut could simply sell the option of and bandwidth/space for a personalized Orkut e-mail address, to rival Hotmail/Oddpost/Yahoo et al?

What are some other ideas?


 10:20 pm on Jan 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

Firstly.. wow.. Orkut Buyukkokten has 12,000 friends it seems. That *is* impressive.

Secondly.. if any Google employee can't figure out what to do with their 20%, then the ODP could always use a few hundred more editors :)


 11:23 pm on Jan 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

A little aside, has anyone else noticed what the orkut.com server is running?:


"Orkut's Palace of Love on Linux" - hmmm!

Of course, as Groucho Marx said, I'd never join a club that would have me as a member... ;)


 4:58 am on Jan 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

I was wondering when someone would notice that. ;)


 1:06 am on Jan 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

Google has many other business niches it could easily exploit - cars, real estate, jobs, offshoring, etc.

Probably easier to offer a new UI with more filtering options.


 2:10 am on Jan 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

They just need a better design on Okrut.com! :)


 4:46 am on Jan 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

Actually, I am afraid I might be defeating the purpose.. nevermind.


 10:28 am on Jan 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

I must say, the invite only thing makes it all the more enticing :) So if anyone out there's lookin for a new friend, throw an invite my way! ;)


 10:42 am on Jan 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

This should be something that really takes off. Will orkut.com be using AdSense... LOL!

BTW: I need friends. Hint, hint!


 11:41 am on Jan 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

Some of the pages end in aspx so I'm not sure that it really is running on "Orkut's Palace of Love on Linux"...

BTW, I could use some more friends for those in the know :)


 11:45 am on Jan 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think its really stupid how you can't signup your self. I have no friends using Orcut, and there is absolutly no way I'll be able to use it :(

I also personally think it needs a good design, better logo and improvements!

anyway, good luck to Mr.Orcut.


 11:00 pm on Jan 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

orkut.com has been taken offline for a few days "for some fine-tuning and improvements". One glitch that became apparent about 12 hours ago was the ability for anyone to post messages to EVERYBODY in the community.... i.e. 8,200+ members!

All you needed to do to post to the entire group was to save a search for all users, then post the message to the saved search.


 12:05 am on Jan 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

So according to the Google Weblog, it's made in MS Visual Studio .Net and is a slightly improved friendster clone.

Can that run on Linux? or is Linux just a trans-proxy-cache for Windows boxen?


 3:08 am on Jan 26, 2004 (gmt 0)


I bet your sticky mailbox got filled up real quick after your last message. ;)


 7:32 am on Jan 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

My orkut observations, slightly overlapping a review I've written on my blog:

- It's fast!

- Until it was taken down for maintenance / upgrading earlier today, it was growing VERY quickly! It tripled in size in just the day or two I was a member (and no, I only invited a few good friends, so it's not my 'fault' :D)

- Unsurprisingly given the (Google employee) base, the membership foundation is more intellectual / mature than the much-more-'hipster' type folks that initially comprised Friendster.

- However, out of all the existing social networking sites, orkut.com really does most closely resemble Friendster in tone. Ryze is certainly more business-oriented, and Tribe.net seems -- despite the admirable community features on orkut.com -- at least at present to be more 'group' focused. Spoke.com, of course, is 100% business focused, and bears little resemblance to orkut. I've not yet tried linkedin, myspace, or the other networking services.

- At least in the initial iteration, Orkut (the founder) did not seem to be giving much heed to the social scalability of the service. Alas, it became quickly apparent that there were numerous ways to even intentionally 'abuse' the service and its members, and orkut.com had little in the way of checks and balances.

- While orkut.com seems mostly tuned towards bringing people together in a social, rather than business sense, it does offer profile fields for one to enter in both educational and work backgrounds and interests. I question, however, whether the flowery-friendly feel of orkut will be compatible with a goal of attracting folks who wish to focus on business networking.

- I've already plugged WebmasterWorld on orkut :D

- Accessibility is a dual-edged sword on orkut. There are at least several key executives / CEOs I've seen on orkut, and sending them e-mail (and e-mail and e-mail) is but one-click away. This, in a way, is marvelous! But -- again, taking into account scalability -- it's also scary and perhaps unfortunate. Unlike other services, orkut does not yet have a way to limit the receipt of messages (to, say, only friend 2nd degree friends), and I worry about some popular folks getting overwhelmed. As we've seen on the Interent, restraint is sometimes not a virtue commonly practiced :.

- A zillion communities have already sprung up on orkut.com. I'm both optimistic and skeptical about the manageability of this huge influx. If orkut provides RSS feeds, for instance, then what's the incentive for folks to regularly return to the site (this could hurt stickiness, revenue options). If, however, orkut fails to provide more effective means for finding and managing community subscriptions, the orkut.com communities will be hard pressed to rival their non-orkut counterparts. In other words, if I can much more easily manage my communications about swing dancing on a huge and popular message forum dedicated to this topic, why will I spend time following and contributing to a smaller group on orkut?

Well, actually, I could go on forever here and I don't wish to bore folks. Perhaps I'm preaching to the choir, or perhaps others are not quite so geekily interested in orkut.com as I am.

And with that said, I look forward to reading more here about orkut. In particular, regarding one issue I haven't touched on above, I'm curious to know what people here believe orkut will mean for Webmasters. More information (that augments or replaces other info-sources)? Ability to network in a different or better fashion than currently possible? In short, do you -- as fellow Webmasters -- feel that orkut.com will be a goldmine or a timesuck for us, or perhaps a bit of both? ;)


 7:49 am on Jan 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

Wait a minute. I thought Friendster and the two other non-Google existing social networks all had some pretty nasty patents on social networking apps?
(If you don't believe just Google it).

How is Google getting around them (or hopefully invalidating them [patents])?



 8:23 am on Jan 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

man, I've revealed my e-mail address on every forum, site, profile etc etc. but they still haven't invited me :(

Donno how I'm gonna get in.



 8:50 am on Jan 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

Androidtech, yeah. Loki99 posted the following link earlier in this thread...

[patft.uspto.gov ]

I'm not too up on patent law, but it sure looks like friendster covered most things.


 9:19 am on Jan 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>I have no friends using Orcut, and there is absolutly no way I'll be able to use it

Don't feel bad Sid, nobody invited me either. I guess we're not trustworthy! ;)


 3:16 pm on Jan 26, 2004 (gmt 0)


From the patent:

"The system of claim 5 wherein said plurality of records further comprises a first record and a second record corresponding to said first and second users, respectively, and wherein said database server operates on said first and second records to update said first relationship between said first record and said second record to one of a confirmed defined relationship and a denied defined relationship."

Once again a prime example of a patent claim makes something simple and obvious, like relational database updates, and makes it sound complex and novel.



 6:39 pm on Jan 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

I've seen a few folks selling "invitations" at 5 bucks a pop.

Who says money can't buy love.

The mind of Orkut [stanford.edu]


 7:06 pm on Jan 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

Great, so any minute we'll start seeing reports of Orkut invitations being auctioned off on Ebay. :)



 12:03 pm on Jan 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

Once again a prime example of a patent claim makes something simple and obvious, like relational database updates, and makes it sound complex and novel.

Actually, claim 1, which a number of the other claims
are dependent on is covered pretty much by the
combination of sendmail/procmail.

And I already closed off the window at uspto, but
some of the other db'ish claims can be found in
versions of Microsoft Exchange, which is db based.

Or, in open source, sqlmail.

I don't mind truly innovative software patents,
but Lord Love A Duck!

The only imaginative thinking here was the
wishful thinking of the applicants.

Unfortunately, the dimwits at uspto agreed.



 8:52 pm on Jan 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

Great, so any minute we'll start seeing reports of Orkut invitations being auctioned off on Ebay.

Correct :) Item number: 2983379992 [cgi.ebay.com]


 12:02 am on Jan 29, 2004 (gmt 0)


ROFL. You find that or put it up? :)



 12:44 am on Jan 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

orkut by the numbers:

As of 4:40pm, PST:

- There are 11,260 members.
- There have been 3,016 messages sent to Orkut Help and Feedback addresses (at least 2,000 of which have been sent since the public release)

[ I know this from basic sleuthing, not because I have any connection with orkut or Google other than that of a user ]

I knew orkut's membership would be expanding rapidly (up from about 2,700 when I joined a few days back)... but I'm surprised and amused to see just how intense the e-mail onslaught has been. I hope Orkut has some admins / assistants at his beck and call, 'cause it's gonna take a LOT more than his 20%-Google-Time to even digest all the help requests and input :D


 5:08 am on Jan 29, 2004 (gmt 0)


My orkut account been "temporarily suspended due to unusual activities"... jeepers... what ever you do, DON'T try the following:

  • Ask Larry Page to be your friend
  • Ask Orkut to be your friend
  • Put a message in Mr. Orkut's scrapbook containing a link

    That's all I did... and now I'm "in jail" - OrkutSpeak for "out in the cold".

    Mr. Orkut, if you read this, I AM REMORSEFUL. I've emailed the link you provided for review, so PLEASE accept my sincere apology and let me back in! I'm so lonely out here!


  • EliteWeb

     5:14 am on Jan 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

    lol first issue of abuse? ;)

    never thought of asking larry to be my friend ;)


     5:42 am on Jan 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

    ROFL. You find that or put it up?

    androidtech - I found it! - Since I posted it I can see from the sellers 'feedback' that they must have sold at least 6! $45 and counting :)

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