The winner-takes-it-all accelerates in Korean web service market

Posted on: Web20asia.com

One of the current trends of the web is what’s called “de-portalization”, with widgets and other technologies enabling “edge” activities. But recently, Korean web is becoming more “portalized”, meaning internet services are fast becoming commoditized with very clear top 3 players and few breakthrough new services aiming to upend the incumbents.

Mr Yoo, the CEO of Korean Click (a leading web stats company in Korea), recently gave a presentation about this trend. Mr Yoo said that the emergence of game-changing new web services have more or less ceased over the last three years. After Daum email (1997), Daum cafe (a web BBS) (1999), Cyworld (2001), Naver Knowledge iN (Q&A service) (2002), Naver Blog (2003), there have not been other “smash-hit” services with over 50% reach.

So this means that three years ago most Koreans used Daum cafe, Cyworld, Naver Knowledge iN, etc. ; Today most Koreans still use Daum cafe, Cyworld, Naver Knowledge iN, etc.

So which service will be the rainmaker to end this 3-year drought of massive web innovation in Korea? Naver-ization leads to monoculture, which isn’t necessarily good. Whichever service the rainmaker might be, I’m sure it will rise on the fertile ground of entrepreneurship.


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