Cyworld (싸이월드) web community site operated by SK Communications, a subsidiary of SK Telecom. Users of Cyworld are most often in their 20s and 30s, and the user base is over 10 million.
The main feature of Cyworld is the service called "minihompy," (미니홈피) which combines photo gallery (사진첩), message board (게시판), and guestbook (방명록). A user can link his/her "minihompy" to another user's "minihompy" to form a buddy relationship. What sets Cyworld apart from traditional blog sites is the "miniroom", which is the virtual room where the blogger's cyberspace alter ego, "minime" (미니미), lives. The users can choose to buy wallpaper and furnishings for their virtual counterparts. Background music and other decorations for the "minihompy" can also be purchased. To buy these, users must first buy Dotori (도토리), or acorns. One dotori costs 100 won. Prices vary from about 2 acorns for a wall painting to 5 acorns for a song, or 50 and above for a background for one's homepage for a year.
Cyworld's daily revenue from selling "dotori" is estimated to be around $300,000 US, as of September 2005. A major attraction for users is the fact that the Cyworld photo gallery offers free unlimited image hosting and allows anyone to comment about it.
To register for a Cyworld, the user must either be a Korean citizen with a national registration number or be able to provide proof of identity, such as passport or ARC.
In late July 2006 the American version of Cyworld debuted in beta as a competitor to MySpace.
- US homepage