"Vkontakte" and "Classmates" waiting for a slow and painful death? ...

    In Soviet magazines of the 70-80s, pictures were often published with appeals addressed to the reader, such as “offer your signature”, “what is depicted here” or, meaningfully, “what would it mean ...”.

    This memory prompted me today to study the attendance schedule of one well-known resource. Let's look at the picture:


    What can we say about what he saw? This is a schedule spanning more than six years. It was compiled by Alexa , the most respected arbiter of the world’s Internet for website traffic.

    For skeptics, it is worth mentioning that Alexa, in fact, is not always perfectly accurate in absolute numbers, but in everything that relates to the determination of trends , especially within large periods - it is sinless.

    Let's go back to the picture. The schedule begins somewhere in the last third of 2001. What happened earlier, unfortunately, was not preserved in Alex. However, this is enough. After all, we are behind the United States in the development of the Internet by about 7-10 years. That is, with a stretch, we can say that we are now in the "American" year 2001.

    In the beginning, an obvious surge is seen, which raised the site in question to the level of maximum positions in its history. The surge occurred in late 2001 - early 2002. It can be assumed that it began shortly before that, and the invisible part of the burst is as sharply directed upwards as its visible part.

    Following a surge of attention, there is a relative stabilization of attendance - this is the year 2002-2004. Two years is a lot. True, in the scale of life of this site - this is less than a third of the time.

    And from 2003 and, with varying success, to this day there has been a drop in attendance, accompanied either by sharp failures or by small rises.

    It can be assumed that the upsurge is caused by additional investments in marketing, maybe new management teams came with fresh ideas and energy, but the trend is definitely lowering. It can be assumed that if this trend continues further, then after 3-4 years from today, the chart will pop up to “zero point” on the horizontal scale ...

    And now - “exposure of focus”. Whose schedule is this? .. And this is the traffic schedule for www.classmates.com- the very one according to the model of which there are Odnoklassniki.ru, Vkontakte and several more similar, smaller social networks of Runet. Their offer to the user: "come to us and find your lost classmates, classmates, colleagues."

    So, there is an opinion that the “come and find” argument may last for a very short time. But virtually nothing but this, and is not offered ...

    My experience and that of several friends, I, for the sake of interest, the survey shows that enthusiasm for "Vkontakte" and "Odnoklassniki" can be clearly divided into several stages:

    1. " What is it? It’s worth a look and register. ”
    2. “Oh! Yes, indeed, many of my former acquaintances. ”
    3. “Hello, Vasya (Petya, Olya, Zhenya, Ekaterina Pavlovna ...)! How are you?! Glad to see you! Well, I’m fine ... And the same to you! .. Well, now we’ll be in touch! ”
    4. Each newly found "friend" is written one or two letters. As a rule, short - for 3-5 sentences.
    5. Communication fades ...
    6. ... fades ...
    7. ... and fades, in fact, to nothing. Everyone who was really interesting appeared in ICQ contact lists or phone notebooks, the rest ... what to do with them? We have become different. You can’t even pick up close ones.

    The entire described cycle takes about 1-2 months.

    Of course, there are exceptions, and it happens that people "hang" on the site for a longer time. But these are still units. Most follow the path described above.


    Thus, if we mentally superimpose the attendance chart of the American prototype on the logic of user actions on Russian counterparts, we can assume that now both Vkontakte and Odnoklassniki are at the 2001 level of classmates.com development. Not by absolute numbers, here they are not important, but by dynamics.

    So (considering both today's Runet audience and its growth), we can assume that a peak will come relatively soon and the pace of development of these two monsters of domestic Web 2.0 will slow down, and later completely stop.

    Then, (guided by the logic of life of classmates.com) for a couple of years, traffic on these sites will be more or less stable, and then a slow dying will begin, interrupted by outbreaks of agony ...

    Will it really be so? Time will tell. But I think that this is a pretty close to the truth picture of the future for similar projects built solely on “recognizing” and searching for old acquaintances.


    There are several conclusions related to the above directly or indirectly:

    1. Often, “Classmates” or “Vkontakte” is the first site that a person who first comes to the Internet begins to seriously use it. He is motivated by curiosity. It is stimulated by the joy of meeting, the game of recognition.

    2. Having received the first communication skills with web services on social networks of this type, many people gradually move away from there and move on to develop new sites. They are already a little "savvy" experience in communicating with web interfaces. And they come to social networks of interest, to blog hosting, try to use sites that provide one or another web toolkit (such as photo hosting, video hosting, social bookmarking). That is, mastered more thoroughly.

    3. Social networks such as Vkontakte and Odnoklassniki carry an important educational mission. Many people come to the Internet just to register with them. With this, he begins his acquaintance with the communication capabilities of the Internet. This is a kind of "online educational program."

    4. Sooner or later, the “adult” audience of Runet (over 14-16 years old) will undergo this educational program, and the young generation already does not need such educational program. It grows on the Internet, perceiving it as a natural component of life.

    5. When the “educational program” is completed (probably in 3-5 years), the process of dying will begin at Vkontakte and Odnoklassniki. Because simply nobody will need to look for old acquaintances. All acquaintances will either be found, or their search will be more convenient through other channels.

    And finally, the most recent and main conclusion from all this is the financial. As a web producer, I would advise colleagues from successful social networks such as Odnoklassniki and Vkontakte to think about the prospects, estimate when they’re about to have a peak in attendance, and sell up to 70-90 percent of the project to those investors whose proposals are for that the moment will be the most attractive. And now, while growth is ongoing and the “euphoria of sociality” continues, there are many such investors. Otherwise, if you miss the peak, then the cost will inevitably begin to fall sharply, amid a decrease in attendance and an increase in disappointment.

    However, I suspect that many creators of social networks understand this well, just for obvious reasons they do not consider it necessary to actively speak out on this topic. That is their right.

    Source - " Spiridonov.ru - blog of the Internet producer ."

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