Go forth and multiply.
This is probably one of the most famous lines in the bible. It also reminds me of rabbits, but that is an entirely different discussion than the one that I have in mind.
I have no idea if the bible had anything to do with the naming of the social networking site, Multiply. Still, I think the basic premise is the same. Go out there and increase your networks, your contacts, your friends. Multiply has been around since 2004 and has attracted millions of users from around the world.
This website has been on my mind ever since I read one of my friend’s blog about the demise of friendster (see http://slightlydillydallying.wordpress.com/2010/06/24/the-fall-of-friendster/). I was reminded of the time when there was no Facebook, and the competition was between Friendster and Multiply (at least in the Philippines, it was). I couldn’t help but compare the two different paths each SNS has taken.
As my friend mentioned in her blog, Friendster has taken a turn for the worst and its users are declining rapidly. The steps it had taken to address this problem have not been particularly successful. Meanwhile, Multiply has taken a very different approach, and I believe that it has been effective.
In the beginning, Multiply seemed to have been veering towards the same direction as Friendster. Like Friendster, it had started to integrate similar Facebook components (ex. chat bar, shout outs, etc.) It may have, or it may have not affected the next step taken by Multiply, but users expressed negative feedback regarding this “copycatting”.
After a while, Multiply stopped with this particular track of mind and developed a different way of tackling the problem at hand.
Audience, where are thou?
Multiply and Friendster had the same target audience (the young and tech-happy people). That is the reason why, once upon a time; they were competing against each other. Facebook then came along and stole the show. We all know Facebook attracted all kinds of ages, all kinds of niches, and all kinds if personalities. This left leaving both Multiply and Friendster bereft.
Friendster stuck to its target, but Multiply changed theirs. Multiply turned its sights to online sellers and shoppers. These people have already started to prevail the Multiply kingdom even before Facebook came along, and Multiply decided to focus on them more rather than stick to a market that Facebook has already dominated.
Changing the gameface
I suppose it is rather inevitable for Multiply to change its image and reputation. You might even say that they changed their function in the digital arena. More than a social networking site, Multiply turned itself into an online market; a haven for online sellers and a one-stop shop for online shoppers.
Multiply created supplements to accommodate their new image. For example; they allowed users to officially name themselves as an “Online Seller”. They created a directory for all of these sellers for shoppers to easily access. This directory was divided into different shop categories, like books, clothing, accessories, and more. Sellers are even promoted through their Featured Sellers section.
Currently, Multiply is fortifying its new image. They are creating even more ways to establish their new image. Just recently, a Multiply Bazaar was held at Rockwell, where online sellers and shoppers were able to meet, create networks, and strengthen relationships.
Never cut off the roots
According to Jim Collin’s book, How the Mighty Fall, one must never let go of one’s core wheel. You can go try other things, but never forget what made you great in the first place. I am very glad that Multiply has heeded this line (I’m not sure if they read the book, though). According to Claudio Pinkus, the Multiply Executive chairman, focusing on Online shoppers and sellers does not mean that they are totally forgetting their social usage. Instead, they will become a “social shopping site”.
Multiply has also not forgotten the other things that have made them successful, which were the excellent media capabilities that they had. By continuing to maximize this, they are still able to attract other users besides online sellers and users. They might even garner a new market (artists, photographers, etc).
Right now, Multiply has over 19 million Multiply users. There are about 41,000 online shops and a survey showed that 65 percent of Multiply users buy stuff from online shops.
This only shows how Multiply has turned itself around and successfully manoeuvred itself from a crisis. To some, these actions may seem like raising a white flag in defeat to a bigger opponent. Actually, it is simply a smart move that would create bigger opportunities to the organization in the long run.
With these strategies; they, themselves, can continue going forth and multiplying.