Even Japan’s Web Colossus Yahoo! Japan can easily fail if trying to force real name to Japanese users. The social business networking service Yahoo! CU, which launched November 2008 is announced to cease on October 19th, before its first anniversary.
CU encourages users to register their real name and organization name which they belong, to expect to form a network useful for peoples’ business, like LinkedIn does in English countries. That was ambitious in Japan where people totally hide their identity (2 channel, NicoNico Douga) or use nickname and illustration/Avatar (Mixi, Gree, Mobage-Town).
According to CNET Japan, the number of registered users, all of whom were invited by other CU users (as it is invitation based), is only 6,500. It is so small as the whole Yahoo! Japan’s monthly unique browser is 200 million [J] (it is bigger than Japan’s population, but on person can use Yahoo! at office, home and on cellphone).
There have NEVER been a guide link from Yahoo!’s top page to CU. And I never noticed any substantial promotion were done by Yahoo! Japan. So the 6,500 might be just Yahoo! Japan employee in the CU team and their friends, who can be early adopters.
Yahoo! Japan also has another social network Yahoo! Days, which was renamed from Yahoo! 360°, originally started by US Yahoo.com. Yahoo! Days is more casual and supposed to compete against Mixi, but seems not successful, too.
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