Thursday, June 5, 2008

hi5 CEO Ramu shares OpenSocial milestones

OpenSocial seems to be working for hi5, as 15 applications have been installed one-plus million times since the social network launched OpenSocial in April. On average, hi5 - a social network with 80 million regisered users, of which 80% are outside the U.S. - is getting one million installs each day across its nearly 700 applications, according to hi5 CEO Ramu Yalamanchi, who stopped by the Vator studios in San Francisco.

I’ve added to those installs. So far, I’m part of the “Hello” application – to say hello in 15 different languages - and the “Addicted to South Park” app – so I can bond with fellow South Park fans. OK. I must admit, I’m not really a frequent South Park viewer. But I did get a good laugh when I took the “Who are you” quiz. My result: “You are no one. You are nothing like any of the southpark characters. You are a weirdo! Come on, you’re not even Kenny!”

What does this say to me? It says, I'm amazed at we do to entertain ourselves. It’s no wonder that 75% of users at hi5 are under 24 years old. I definitely had more time on my hands back then to take such quizzes. Then again, you're never too old to have witless fun. These are exactly the type of services/features social networks need to keep people engaged. These are, in many ways, the virtual equivalent of activities offered at destinations when people are on vacation. For hi5, which raised $20 million in venture funding last year, and $15 million from
Hercules Technology in January 2008, creating traffic is crucial. And, obviously activities are one way to keep the traffic up.

Launched by Google in Nov. 2007,
OpenSocial is a set of common APIs for building social applications across the Web. Eighteen sites committed to support OpenSocial, including hi5. (Click here to see the corporate culture at hi5).

According to Ramu, half of hi5’s 45 million active users have 3 applications in their profiles.

"Facebook reportedly has 25,000 applications. I’m not sure how often they’ve been downloaded. But there’s no doubt, most all of them are silly apps that just entertain".

That’s not to say, however, that they’re worthless to install or to have. As I toured through hi5’s apps, such as “MyDouble” – to find out who of people and celebrities look like me – or “Addicated to Desperate Housewives” or “Addicated to Chappelle’s Show” – it felt a lot like touring through the brochure rack in the lobby. They’re not exactly stuff I’d sign up for, but they do provide reason to be at a destination, in this case hi5. At this point, hi5’s audience visits consist of 74% addicts, that’s more than 64% at Facebook, according to Quantcast. In order to keep those addicts around, hi5 will need those mindless, entertaining apps.
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