KOREA: Naver beats Daum in number of Cafe visitors

Naver's community services gains 3 million visitors in 12 months

The Korea Times
Sunday, July 1, 2007

By Cho Jin-seo

NHN's Naver Web portal has once again showed its ever-expanding influence in South Korea by overtaking its closest rival Daum in the number of visitors to their community services.

The "Cafe" community service has been Daum's trademark business for almost a decade, but Naver finally beat Daum late May in the number of visitors, according to Korean Click, a research firm.

In the third week of June, Naver Cafe had 14.6 million visitors, with an increase of 3 million over the past 12 months. Meanwhile, Daum's weekly visitor tally has remained almost unchanged at 14.4 million.

Both firms' Web community services are open to users for free. They are designed to provide a common ground in cyber space for people who have the same interests or hobbies.

Daum said the two portal's philosophies on Cafe management are subtly different.

"Many of Naver's users are directly from its Web search results, and they tend to use the Cafes as a means to share information. But Daum Cafes are more fun-oriented and more loyal to each other," a Daum spokesperson said.

The two firms had a court brawl three years ago over the right to use the name "Cafe." Daum demanded an exclusive right for the name as a first-time user, but the court was in favor of Naver, who alleged that the word should be viewed as a public entity.

Naver is the nation's dominant Internet portal site with a total of 23 million registered users for its Web searching, e-mail, blog and community services. But Daum still has an edge in e-mail service with 24.5 million users. Daum is also running ahead of Naver in the video-sharing category, called UCC (user-created contents) in Korea.