Daum – World of user created content

Posted on: Openlaszlonaut.de

Have you ever wondered what the company behind a web portal or service you have been using for a long time looks like? Well, I haven’t been using Daum that much, but since the late 90’s I’ve used their service from time to time. My Korean friends have been telling me a lot about the services Daum offers (like Hanmail, the Daum Cafés or other forms of digital communication). Everyone in Korea knows Hanmail, the leading web mail service in the country. The number of Hanmail mail accounts is actually higher the total population of South Korea. And of course there’s an OpenLaszlo Daum café, which Hayoung set up a while ago.

Daum is one of the three big Korean internet players, the other ones being NHN (a merger of Naver and Hangame) and Cyworld. Cyworld is in a way special, since they don’t offer a search engine and are the only social networking platform run by a telecommunication company, SK Telekom.

About two weeks ago I visited the Daum office in Yangjaedong, Seoul. I wondered what the office would like, wondered, what kind of company spirit I’ll find at Daum. Through the helpy by my friend Channy I got the opportunity to do an OpenLaszlo presentation for a large group of developers at the company

The Yangjaedong office building is pretty big, hosting about 600 Daum employees. It’s only one of the several offices Daum has in Seoul, but there’s also a relatively new office on Cheju island, part of Cheju Digital City. Daum really became succesful after they started offering the Hanmail service and the Daum café has become a synonym for internet forums in Korea. Daum calls itself “world of user created content (UCC)”. One of Channy’s tasks is to mange the DNA program of Daum open APIs. Daum and Naver are leading the rest of the industry by opening up their services for mash-ups.

As elsewhere in the country I was welcomed by many friendly and interested people, the hospitality of Koreans is amazing. Most people in Europe or the US don’t know that Koreans, being very different from Japanese people in many cultural aspects, are very active, direct and don’t hesitate to ask critical questions. So I learned a lot from the Koreans, was surprised to see that many of the skeptical questions I get in Europe from developers were not asked and realized, that the conception of RIA in Korea is very different. But so is the technical infrastructure and the ability to deal with very complex interfaces. To me it was a learning experience, and a very joyful one. Thank you to everyone at Daum who has made this possible.

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