Rakuten To Shut Down 6 Million Users Zenryaku Profile

Nikkei reports [J] that Rakuten has decided to close its Zenryaku Profile, a social networking site having 6.4 million users and runs for about decade, even before the word “social networking service” established.

The site was originally run by other company, moved under Rakuten when it purchased a company who owned the service. Different from other Rakuten service which target adult consumers, Zenryaku Profile is a service mostly used by teenagers, to show who you are to their firstly-met friends. When you register, you will be asked about 60 questions to make your profile page, which was favored by non-net-savvy teenagers who did not like free text writings.

Nikkei wrote that the move was caused around Rakuten opposing DeNA’s pro-baseball team Yokohaba Bay Stars purchase deal on 12 owners meeting planned on December 1 (see my The Japan Times column today), as Rakuten objects DeNA as an inappropriate owner because it runs deai-kei(dating) and social game services. So Rakuten tries to clean itself up by shutting down its own social network service.

As we reported on the day before yesterday, Rakuten silently testing Rakuten Profile not for teenagers but for their shop-owners and customers.

Rakuten Switches Portal Search Backend To Google

Rakuten, Japan’s huge online mall, announced on 10th that they are to use Google search on their portal Infoseek Rakuten.

Infoseek Rakuten has been using Yahoo! Japan search backend, and requested Japan Fair Trade Commission to investigate if Yahoo! Japan-Google search alliance is antitrust.

Naver, Korean-originated search engine running Japanese search site, announced [J] on 11th that the new Infoseek’s image search is run on Naver’s engine.

Rakuten also agrees [J] with Google to use Google AdSense on several services, such like Infoseek, Rakuten Toolbar and Zenryaku Profile.