Monday, April 23, 2007

Sulake acquired Dynamoid - hot or not?

Does it matter who owns the online community you are engaged with?

Majority of Finnish teenagers belong in either Habbo or IRC-Galleria. Habbo is an online world where you can create your own stuff (home page, decorate your room, plays, stories, soap opera...) . IRC-galleria is a photo gallery and an arena to make one's presence felt. It is a great place to boost up one's spirit by gaining rating and (positive) feedback of one's appearance. The consensus of opinion is that kids go to Habbo and teens are more into IRC-galleria.

Now when Sulake (Habbo) acquired Dynamoid (IRC-galleria) it is interesting to see how the teens will react. Does it really matter which company is behind YOUR nr. 1 community? How relevant is the brand (or the company brand behind the service)? Reputation seem to be a focal keyword when talking about online communities. Reputation is one of the "3 R's" for the consumers but what about with the service providers?

Are teens satisfied with this "one stop shop" approach or are they after alternatives? "I don't want to be a part of Habbo-thing but IRC-galleria is cool" -- or vice versa? Or does anyone care who actually is behind the online service? MNEs (Nestlé, McDonalds) or dominance (Microsoft) is no-no IRL but I quess we still do not know what's the case in online space. Of course in this Sulake-Dynamoid case we are not talking about the same thing par excellence. But still... the connection of two of the hottest online community services in Finland is interesting from the viewpoint of user experience.

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