January 31, 2004

Most brilliant product launch ever...?

by skrenta at 10:37 AM

...or conspiracy theory?

There's a fascinating series on Scott Rafer's weblog about Orkut. The PR story is that a single programmer build this in his free time. Yet:

  • Orkut is the most feature-advanced social software product to deploy to date.
  • Orkut has scaled massively in its first few weeks of operation. This requires a scalable server infrastructure and 10's or 100's of machines.
  • The "Under Construction" page was signed "The Orkut team".
  • Orkut's internal code name was reportedly "Project Eden" and "the Friendster killer"...
  • Orkut already has a mail system built in. Google Mail?
  • Jeremy Zawodny thinks that that Google needs Orkut to get registered users with tons of personal information about them.
We have no way to know which of these speculations are true, but Okut does smell like a deliberate organizational effort, with careful PR/messaging, scalable infrastructure, slick design, and strategically optimized for Google's product roadmap.

Check out this Alexa graph comparing Orkut's traffic growth to Friendster's. Friendster is flat and Orkut has nearly caught up after just 2 weeks.

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