Saturday, December 18, 2010

In Japan, Facebook is Second-Rate

The big Social Networking site in Japan is called Mixi. Don't bother trying to join it, you'll need to be invited by a current member in order to get in.

I know of a few people who do Facebook in Japan. I'd have to say that, amongst the people I know, that the ratio of Facbook users versus Mixi users is about 10 to 1 in favor of Mixi.

The Japanese people like things that allow them to have their own "clubs" Mixi is much better suited for that than Facebook is. Also Mixi allows people to use pen names. That is a critical issue in Mixi's success in Japan; Japanese people are much more strict about their privacy and do not like to tell the world who they are and where they live.

Mixi fits the bill for the Japanese.

The Japan Times confirms this:

"Facebook's service emphasizes connection to users overseas, stresses openness over privacy and doesn't reflect regional characteristics," Kasahara, 35, whose stake in the company is worth almost $500 million, said in a recent interview in Tokyo. "Our users value a social space that is like a living room — private, comfortable and personal."
Mixi, whose shares have tumbled 39 percent this year, is adding games and expanding into smart phones to revive earnings after profits fell for three of the past four quarters. Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said in July his company is focusing on expansion in Japan and Russia this year, increasing the pressure on the Japanese company to introduce new features to protect its lead.
Mixi, which began social network operations in 2004, has fallen 71 percent since its initial public offering in 2006. The company competes against Gree Inc. and News Corp.'s MySpace.
Closely held Facebook introduced simpler privacy controls in May and said it was reducing the amount of user information that is publicly available after lawmakers and advocacy groups complained that the service shares too much personal data.
Mixi gives its 22 million subscribers more fine-grain controls over who sees their content, such as allowing the users to disclose information to individual friends, Kasahara said.
Facebook spokesman Jonathan Thaw didn't immediately respond to a phone call and e-mail seeking comment.

Facebook is also not convenient to use on cellphones in Japan. When you consider the problems with privacy and that 90% of all cellphone users in Japan do not have a computer at home, then you can see where Facebook has big problems in Japan.... Not to mention that their "Spokesman" is too busy to answer a phone call or his e-mail for a comment from one of the oldest and most famous newspapers in Japan.

Hello Facebook? Yeah, what's the purpose of having a "Spokesman" that doesn't answer his email or phone calls? I reckon this is indicative of why your business hasn't really taken off here amongst the Japanese. Hire a new spokesman... Preferably one who speaks Japanese and understands the customs and business manners of Japan.

1 comment:

Marc Sheffner said...

Facebook is not adapting to the local mores and wants, which Mixi does much better, so how come
"Mixi, whose shares have tumbled 39 percent this year"... and
"Mixi, which began social network operations in 2004, has fallen 71 percent since its initial public offering in 2006."