Badoo, the UK-based social network where you literally vote yourself to the front page via text message, plans a site relaunch this week. Last week it hit 13 million users. Recently I sat down with Lucy George, global communications director, to tease out the background to this sleeping giant.
In 2006 the site started with seven languages but never intended to launch in the UK. The business model is based partly on users being able to ‘rise up’ the network by texting themselves to the top. It costs one euro. About 20% of their user base uses this service between seven and eight times a day. As a result Badoo doesn’t have advertising, but advertisers can get their own profile page. There was also some suggestion that Badoo might launch a platform for developers at some stage.
I think it’s interesting how Badoo has been a sleeping giant in the social networking scene. The site doesn’t really appeal to me personally. It could use a UI makeover, and the blogs don’t have RSS which feels like a basic omission. However, given they won $30m from Russian investor Finam last month, valuing the company at $300m, I’m sure we’ll be hearing more from them soon.
Right after I posted this Badoo came back to me with more details of their new features, and they run like this:
-Simple Friend Requests
Beyond this they have, or are in the process of adding the following features:
– Slideshow facility
– RSS on all pages
– Subscribe to your favorite users
– Badoo mobile applications
– Mobile uploads (upload photos direct from your phone)
– Badoo widgets
– Easier sorting of contacts
– Collaborative entries and advanced sharing of photos.