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Why Brazil Loves Orkut!

Why Brazil Loves Orkut!

Danny Sullivan made a post today at Search Engine Watch quoting a USA Today piece on the alarming amount of Al-Qaeda “fan” groups in Google’s Orkut. Anytime one talks about Orkut the Brazilian phenomina is discussed which centers around why is Orkut so popular in Brazil?

Danny posted on Search Engine Watch after Google Analyst Day : “My favorite part is probably the explanation of why Orkut only seems to be taking off in Brazil. “Brazilians are just very community-oriented.” What, all those crazy US kids jumping into MySpace like my niece don’t have a sense of community?

I’ve been thinking about this myself lately and took the liberty of speaking with some Orkut loving Brazilians, my wife (who is from Brazil), representatives from Google Japan (there are over 100,000 wired Brazilians living in Japan) and others about Orkut and came up with this list:

1. Brazilians are incredibly community oriented and refer to groups as Tribalistas, or tribos. People tend to associate with these groups in everyday conversation and continuously refer to how they are Heavy Metal fans, Evangelical Christians, Sambistas, Macumberos, PT supporters, or whether they prefer Skol to Kaiser.

Social Networking caught on really quick in Brazil because of this relevance to everyday life. There is definitely more of a coolness factor to social networking in Brazil.

2. Orkut is very easy to pronounce in Portuguese. Try telling someone from Brazil to go to Friendster.com or MySpace. The names of those sites are lost in translation. When someone pronounces “Orkut” in Portuguese (especially Brazilian Portuguese with the heavy incluence on the “ch” T sound), they can easily spell it, visualize the word and remember it next time they get infront of the computer.

3. Orkut sounds like Yakult or “iogurte” (yogurt). Yakult is the Brazilian version of the popular Japanese Yakult yogurt drink. Everyone drinks it in Brazil when they’re kids. There is a totally unintentional instant association between the words Orkut, Iogurte and Yakut in Brazil.

4. Brazilians with constant Internet access are on the upper echelon of “differencia social.” Although Brazilians are some of the most outgoing people I’ve ever met, they are quite cautious when meeting others and inviting them into their circle of friends.

By using a service like Orkut, users can prequalify the new friends they make by judging their ability to access the Internet, write and read correctly, and see which friends they share.

5. The fact that Orkut is now associated with Brazil has added flame to the popularity fire. This is a country which is quite proud of their culture, economic position in South America, and World Domination of Soccer (futbol). Now, they are proud to have Orkut as their own.

6. Mobility – Many young professionals or just younger Brazilians in general have moved from Sao Paulo to Curitiba, Floripa and other bustling southern Brazilian towns (not to mention Miami, New York, Washington DC, Italy, Spain, and Japan). Social Networking is a way to keep in touch with groups of friends much easier than mass emails.

7. A large number of Brazilians access the Internet from Internet Cafes and online gaming cafes. Orkut has grown in popularity due to this mobility factor. One can access their accounts from anywhere.

8. I’ve noticed with some Brazilians, especially women, there is a lot of competitiveness when it comes to attracting attention (this could be universal of course). The awards, fan citations and friendship offerings in Orkut just fuel this tendency. It’s also cool to have Orkut ‘friends’ from Europe, the US, and Japan on your profile.

9. Again, Yakut and pronunciation. When I told the people at Google about the pronunciation factor they seemed amazed. Google is beginning to enjoy the same compatibilty with the Portuguese language. Not to say Yahoo does not, and Hotmail certainly does, but the Google hip factor has made “goo-gly” a new part of the Brazilian Portuguese language and its association with Orkut is beginning to lead to Google and GMail converts.

10. Orkut’s color scheme is the same as the Brazilian World Cup team’s away jerseys (or is it home? the BLUE ones). This is going out on a limb however, since the color is also similar to Argentina’s flag and uniform colors.

11. Lack of advertising. Most Brazilians I know are sick of advertising. Outdoor billboards, political radio infomercials, ads painted on walls, cars driving around with loud speakers on top, people selling water or Silvio Santos Tele Sena lotto tickets clapping their hands at the gate outside of the house – referred to as Poluicao Visual. Orkut has no advertising, yet :)

Screen Shot 2014 04 15 at 7.21.12 AM Why Brazil Loves Orkut!
Loren Baker is the Founder of SEJ, an Advisor at Alpha Brand Media and runs Foundation Digital, a digital marketing strategy & development agency.
Screen Shot 2014 04 15 at 7.21.12 AM Why Brazil Loves Orkut!

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121 thoughts on “Why Brazil Loves Orkut!

  1. In fact, every one associates Orkut to “iorgut”, which is a word playing of “iogurte” (yogurt).

    I, beeing brazilian, never thinked about orkut/yakult ;)

  2. Ha! I knew there was something there. Thanks Mateus. Em tao, muito obligado cara por seu ajudar.

    Maybe it’s mostly the Nik-kei Brasilieros associating Orkut with Yakult :)

    Who’d of thought? Google conquers the most powerful and technologically advanced South American country because the name of one of their engineers sounds like yogurt.

  3. And every one, every single time, when you say “orkut”, repeats like “iorgute”. It’s annoying !

  4. Are you stupid? :P

    Nothing to do with pronounce in Portuguese, its just cause or Yakult, yogurt, wathever

    Thats is the dummiest thing I ever read in my life

  5. “razilians with money would rather spend their evenings hanging out with other well-to-do Brazilians than getting robbed or shot by someone they don’t know well.”

    it sounds very funny.

  6. LuckyMan, Are you saying that Orkut is not easier to roll off the tongue in Portuguese than Friendster?

    The social networking popularity in Brazil is easy to figure out. But the theme of this post, and the info I’ve gotten back from Orkut loving Brazilians, is intended to answer the question “Why did Orkut get SO popular in Brazil?”

    And why not other US or European services.

    Instead of calling the results of the ‘study’ stupid, maybe you could lend your explanation.

  7. Funny, after posting this I got an Orkut mail from Gisele Bündchen asking to be her friend.

    I first saw Gisele Bündchen at Carnaval in Rio two years ago. Amazing to meet a Victoria’s Secret model in the flesh.

    Gisele, I’ve added you. Next time I’m in Floripa or NY I’ll look you up ;)

    (yes, I’m aware this is probably not Gisele, but I can dream)

  8. Just correcting: in Brazil is Yakult, too. But yes, people here are calling the service “yakult” and even “Iogurte (portuguese for iogurt, but the pronunciation here is almost the same).

    Nobody knows for sure why this service is so popular, but Friendster was very popular here and so is Fotolog. I think that brazilians love to see and to be seen, and everybody here knows lots of people, and say that they are all “good friends”. People are very open to new friendships and is very common to have three or four social circles with lots of people in.

  9. I think you are wrong on many counts here, and correct in some aspects.

    You missed the most important one about why Orkut is popular in Brazil and not elsewhere. The reason is the same: it is because there are Brazilians there. A connected Brazilian almost cannot not be on orkut, because all your friends are, and that is how your junior high buddies reconnect with you. Also, Brazilians scared everyone else away because of volume and the others gave up since they didn’t feel very comfortable (Brazilians didn’t feel the need to make anyone else comfortable).

    Here is my analysis of your post:
    Item 1. “Tribalistas” is the name of a band. As fair as I know, Brazilian anthropologists use the term “tribo” just as american ones use “tribe”.

    Item 2. Yakut… I don’t think so. The drink is that same Yakult, and what I hear people calling it is “iogurte”, or as someone mentioned, it is just a play with words, the sillier the better, and not really a factor in popularity. People didn’t get to it because it has a funny name. And nikkei Brazilians are as likely to drink yakult as non-nikkei. Also not a factor.

    Orkut is indeed easy to pronounce… but with a Portuguese pronunciation which is different from what an american would say and, I guess, what Orkut calls himself. Friendster and Myspace are the same: not really pronunciable in Portuguese, but people would adapt to the point an American wouldn’t understand. Also, people are invited by mail, not in person, and they probably kept their invitation e-mails.

    Item 4, class differentiation seems not to be much of a factor, AFAIK. But I don’t hang with people who don’t use computers, so I wouldn’t be able to tell . For most people, Orkut is not exclusive as it was at first. Orkut is very inclusive, because the hardest is actually not getting invited.

    Item 5, national pride. Agreed.

    Item 6, mobility. It is not something going on for the last 2 years. It has always happened. But it is also useful for those who want to keep in touch with people from another part of the city.

    Item 7, machine independence. What other social service you know is not web-based?

    Item 8, competitiveness. I think it varies from place to place. It happens with some people. When you are talking about a few million people it is not a very useful generalization.

    Item 9, come again? I don’t think a lot of people got into orkut because of google. And what is “goo-gly”?

    Item 10, I really recommend you replace your monitor with another one, or have your eyes checked for color-blindness. yellow-green is not the same as light blue-magenta.

    But actually, Brazilians got into orkut because their friends where there. A good backbone of early adopters in the technology sector spread it throughout the country. Those who didn’t want to get in were invited so many times by so many different friends, that they gave in. But look at other social networks, you will see that they are frequently country-specific.

  10. Andre,

    “The reason is the same: it is because there are Brazilians there. A connected Brazilian almost cannot not be on orkut, because all your friends are, and that is how your junior high buddies reconnect with you. Also, Brazilians scared everyone else away because of volume and the others gave up since they didn’t feel very comfortable (Brazilians didn’t feel the need to make anyone else comfortable).”

    I love this quote!

  11. Andre,

    “I really recommend you replace your monitor with another one, or have your eyes checked for color-blindness. yellow-green is not the same as light blue-magenta.”

    I’m referring to the alternate World Cup jersey (yes, I’m fully aware of the Yellow/Green/Blue colors, I’m looking at various things around my apartment right now):

  12. Brilliant! When will some clever North American type outdo the cutesy Friendster and MySpace and give us what we really want (Bud)?

  13. “The reason is the same: it is because there are Brazilians there.”

    Sorry, but this explains nothing. THIS is the question: “why there are so many brazilians in orkut ?”

    My opinion is that because it’s funny, new (well, not really new concept) and easy to access.

  14. Hi, Very interesting discussion, I followed-up to my friends at Google.
    There is also another unexplicable buzz around MSN Messenger: there is a huge number of people using it, instead of Yahoo Messenger or AOL. As far as I know Brazil is already the seconds largest user of MSN Messenger in the whole world. In the past ICQ was the leader on IM arena, but for 2 years now MSN reigns alone. And there is only one explanation for that: all your friends are there, just like Orkut.Thanks, marcelo

  15. If all of your friends are on Orkut, I wonder if Google will make a Google Talk and GMail push in Brazil via Orkut to convert the MSN users to fully integrated communications network.

    Seems that if they can accomplish that, building awareness of search and expanding their market in Brazilian search advertising would be quite easy.

  16. Dear Loren,

    I am just back from an extended weekend holiday on the British seaside, after almost losing my hearing to the cold (I swear it was frostbite) whilst contemplating the waves in the five minutes I ventured outside the family hut in search of that little taste of Brazil I miss so much.

    Back home, I was very pleased to read your response clarifying the poverty-crime theme and much happier to hear of how much you really know about us and our Country, contrary to what I thought initially.

    What I know of Brazil is Bahia, where I was born, as well as Pará, Sergipe and Minas Gerais. I have never been to São Paulo or Rio (yeah I am a real tabaréu (country bumpkin, for those not familiar with the lingo) ). I think you are right about Brazilians being precautious but if you permit me to repeat something that you already have clarified and proved to know very well, this is a behaviour found in all social classes.

    I think it is very good that you started researching the Orkut phenomenon in Brazil, I even think that if you dig up a little bit more, you may have a study in your hands which may be worth quite a few bucks and help foreign companies such as Google to understand what our needs are. Who knows, but you might even be on the way to write the book to topple Freakonomics.

    An English friend of mine once told me that Brazilians are one of the biggest communities in Adult Friend Finder, a paid social circle network for those wanting something more than friendship (that friend is not me ok ? No, serious. I was just teaching him the chat-up lines). I think it is valid to analyse all these sources as well in order to see whether there are other underlying stimuli working in the Brazilian psyche when something like Orkut is on offer.

    Many thanks for your kind care and attention to my comment.
    Best regards to you and the family! Keep up the good work!

    Um abraço!

    Luis
    Webalorixá Magazine
    http://www.webalorixa.net

  17. Prof. Carlos Ramalhete,

    Thank you for the suggestion. I think that the book by DaMatta will not only help me understand Orkut’s popularity a bit more, but also help me understand my in-law’s :)

    Best, Loren

  18. Are you in sick?
    Atamaa senn hipateru, yokunai!
    I’M BRAZILIAN BUT, DO-NOT-USE ORKUT.
    OOOPS! You get wrong!
    Anatá MATIGATETA! M A Z U I !!!!!

  19. Hi, Loren,
    It was a great pleasure to read something about BraSil written by someone living somewhere around the world. But I must (being brazilian, living in são paulo and joining orkut since it was created) argue about some topics:
    - Yakult/Orkut pronounce association isn’t so relevant here. Believe me.
    - Competitivity is not the point.
    - Orkut theme colors aren’t similar to the ones in the picture ahead. Really.

    Orkut popularity in Brasil, in my opinion, was granted by the natural sociability of brasileiros. People in here are really talkative, outgoing, comunicative, and cares about closer relationships. We are really proud of acting this way and of being born here, and orkut association with Brasil contributed a lot to the site.

    Congratulations for your studies and posts. Altough it’s the first time i comment one of them, reading them has become a routine for me =)

    See ya!

  20. Thanks Fabrico,

    Orkut popularity in Brasil, in my opinion, was granted by the natural sociability of brasileiros. People in here are really talkative, outgoing, comunicative, and cares about closer relationships.

    All understood. But the question is… Why Orkut?

  21. It is funny that so many sites make it huge by word of mouth over regular advertising. It is just so much more effective and of course free if you are lucky enough to get it. Then everyone is impressed with the story and you get free advertising in articles and on TV. It seems that you just have to take one college campus by storm and you have a 50/50 chance of pulling something huge off…

  22. I’m not a brazilian… nor do I speak portuguese..
    Social Community sites are huge everywhere! Why Orkut became especially huge in brasil, that’s the question. I enjoyed reading the above analysis. But on the other hand… I think that the solution to our queste lies in this: The main differentiator between Orkut and other communities is that Orkut is by invite only… As has been said above: It seems to be harder not to get invited than to get invited FOR BRASILIANS. I, for one, was invited to orkut one time only (I’m dutch) and the invitation was sent out by a.. brasilian friend.

    So maybe it’s ‘coincedence’ added to some cultural differences (the brasilians being more ‘social’ than the average european.

    One drawback (or is it an advantage?) of any system of invite-only is that it potentially stays within a circle, granted, it is a fairly huge circle.but it does stay within the circle

    So to conclude;
    - Orkut is by invite only therefore giving the first members the opportunity to ‘direct’ the circle.
    - Maybe that brasilians, because of there more socially and tribal oriented culture, were quick(er) to understand the system and use it to their advantage..
    - once the tipping point has been reached…
    - Maybe Orkut did had a stronger appeal at first sight because the name sounded more friendly (iogurte, no-one dislike yoghurt right?) or had a childhod association with it, then friendster did.

    to be honest, I think it would make an interesting case study for antropologists or mathematics, economists and the likes…. damn why did I study design :)

  23. I completely and utterly agree with the lack of depth in these numerous friend counts people sport in Orkut.

    Speaking for myself, I’ve got about 4 good friends in real_life_(tm), about 20 which I interact every once in a while, but 300+ friends in my orkut profile.

    Every other person you stumble upon sends you a friendship request. Sometimes people add me just because they found my profile “cute”. WTF?! And it’s sort of impolite to reject a friendship request.

    Open conversation I’ve had about orkut with close friends turned up the same general feelings of emptyness and shallowness.

    There’s also “orkuticides” – people killing their own profile in orkut after finding the lack of gratification in the “orkut experience” too frustrating. Most of the notes are like this “My true friends know how and where to find me. Bye”. See a pattern here ? I do.

    So, hey, dont be fooled with “people here care sooo much about relationships, aint it cutey?”. It’s more about looks, power, status. Just like everybody else :) . Same sh*t, same sh*t. Good old social anxiety disorder.

    Were we soo gregarious, we’d be all over meetup.com instead.

    Oh BTW I’m Brazilian, 24 yr old, using Internet since ~10 yr old, and Orkut since it all started. What do I call Orkut ? My distributed, self-updating, contacts list. And thats all.

  24. Man, u r totally crazy !!!!! What do u think ’bout brazilians? I’m from Brazil and I think MySpace so easy to say. Orkut is harder to say than MySpace, the word “Orkut” sounds like something arabic…. Well, probabilly ur wife didn’t live here for a long time. Brazil is changing, is growing. Everyone speaks english.

  25. Hi,
    Good observations.
    I am Ameya.. an Orkuter from India. Now I am waiting for your next research on “Why India loves Orkut” ;-)

    Orkut is at rank two. And very soon it will overtake yahoo in India.
    To help you in reasoning for your next research..
    I think the reasons are
    1. Popularity of Gmail and Google
    2. Popularity of Google talk (very small fraction of Indians might use msn)
    3. No Ads on Orkut
    4. Speed of loading (network bandwith is pathetic sometimes.. who has time and money to wait for lot of unnecessary stuff.. like images and videos to load..)
    5. And similar to Brazil.. I joined because of my friend.. ………

    Regards,
    Ameya

  26. INSANE, INSANE, INSANE. This is one of the most ridiculous things i’ve ever read. Just to quote a stupid thing: “Tribalistas” is a musical group from 2002 that doesn’t exist anymore and has nothing to do with Orkut’s “tribos”. Only the ethimology of the word is the same.

    MY F******NG GOD!!!

    Oh, there’s no city in Brazil called Floripa.The name is Florianópolis; we don’t pronounce it “goo-gly”, unless you think WE are retarded. And hey:

    Yakult is not Yogurt!

  27. OH MY!!! SELLING TELE SENA DOOR-TO-DOOR IS NOT “poluição visual” !!!!!!! This term means visual pollution! Unless the Tele Sena sellers are smoking in our homes!!!!!

    Man, seriously, stop doing this. It’s not for you…

  28. Very interesting discussion indeed..

    I see two big communities in Orkut, Brazillians and Indians although there is that mention that Americans are the second biggest community (my personal take is that it is the Indian, Brazillian community in USA that is boosting up the numbers)..the only common thing thread binding these countries is their sense of belonging to a community, their thirst for social gatherings, groupings etc. I am an Indian and I know the number of festivals, get-togethers we have far surpasses what I have seen in other countries. A sense of sharing and show-off is also a part of our culture :). Maybe orkut invitations were distributed equally amongst people from different nations, but Indians and Brazillians just grew it out of bounds virally!! Once you reach a critical mass, the whole process is self-sustaining, growing and feeding itself :). IMHO, India being the second most populous country with a vibrant “young generation” will soon come very near to Brazillian dominance on Orkut and probably even cross it.

  29. Oops..forgot to mention above that Orkut’s “by invitation only” policy was the reason why other communities couldn’t grow it as good as the Brazil/Indians….All other social networking websites were not by invitation (in fact, Orkut is no longer that way too)…We Indians really believe in networking, networking to find jobs, networking to find solutions to problems, networking for matrimony etc etc

  30. This is the most repulsive and ridiculous thing I ever read.
    You could do some research before start writing.

    No, no. You could die and born again!

  31. Hi,

    Please allow me do some referrals:

    . Orkut is popular in brazil because it´s simple and easy to anvigate. It allows liberty of thought, expressions and networking.

    . But the most important reason for all that is that brazilians are leading a technology revolution: internet home banking solutions, gamming programming, and others. We have the best outsourcing technologies companies.

    . Not only that: we spend more time on internet than any other country.

    . The mainstream of my idea/argument is that brazilians are acepting very well new technologies, from computer to mobile platform.

    . Yeat, we are needy of “popularity” and “identification” and orkut communities permits the user to identify itself with lots of behavior and/or ideas.

    I work at an online viral marketing agency and I do agree in part of what was told. Really, bringing up the topic “naming” as one of the reason for the sucess of Orkut in Brazil is not the reason.

    The first time I used Orkut in Brazil was to find my old schoolmates which I lost contact since I left Brazil in 1995. In Brazil, we do not have the custom/tradition to do “old schoolmates reunion – type: class of 98 reunion. So, Orkut came to fill up this gap.

    Well, I would really love to see the result of this conversation since I use orkut´s comunnities to advertise products, brands and promotions; such as: TIM, BrasilTelecom, Caixa Econômica Federal, Sagatiba, Microsoft and others.

    Lauren, I would love to keep in touch with you. Please, let´s keep this conversation on e-mail. And Marcelo Sant´Iago, please let´s talk about this topic which might enrich our skills and principally ours results.

    Best regards,

  32. Hi Gabriel,
    I agree with all you said… yes Brazilians are very into technologies and a lot of people outside of Brazil don’t know that…
    Brazilians love to be around friends and family and they love to share their thoughts and be passionated about it… They like to be up to date with new technologies aroud the world…

    Sincerely,

    Regiane Parker
    For you success
    http://monavie2006.payitforward4profits.com

  33. You seem to know nothing about Brazil, really, believe in this brazilian… The fact is that orkut is much more user friendly than that ugly myspace you love… Yakult? Yogurte? Soccer? Fala sério!!!

  34. Hey..i’m BRAZILIAN and i think your explanations are AMAZING, you’re very creative and thought bout every single possibility…[ sometimes it was even too much (honestly)].
    Everybody here is trying to evaluate our nation what is kind of nice couse i’d not lose my time trying to evaluate U.S.
    This unintentional association between the words Orkut and Iogurte is really true, it’s exactly how it goes down (to me), but google and yahoo are hard couse the sound of the double “o” is “u”, the “h” have sound of “rr” and there’s no “y” on brazilian words just “i”… so sounds like gugle and iarru.However the color, the advertises and the pronounce are not truly relevant.
    We also don’t judge others for the ability to access the Internet, write and read correctly, brazilians abbreviate almost all the words on internet and we also are not proud of our culture or economic position in South America we just try to don’t forget our culture after this u.s./europe “worldwide domination” , we’re nacionalits just on the world cup (seriously) and almost all brazilians complain about their country every 10 minuntes (i do)
    The part of competitiveness between women was reeeeally funny….and the crazy pieced off brazilians that posted here too…
    .
    HONESTLY I LOVED YOUR POST…besides that parts i said i don’t agree the things you posted are true especially when you said we’re community oriented…brazilian people are very friendly and nice and it’s part of the culture…when u’re a reserved person they think u are a snob and you’re picked on (like i am)…

  35. And, by the way, we chose orkut becouse was the first to come to Brazil… the fisrt brazilians joined for curiosity…and the rest of us joined becouse we had friends there (and we give so much importance to our friends that after some years millions of brazilians joined).we adapted ourselfs to the clean, simple and easy way that orkut works and we got used to it (we don’t need to understand HTML to have a beautiful attractive orkut)….and now it’s hard to the most of brazilians to adapt theirselves to the new colorful sites……

  36. what you’ve been posted on here makes no sense,i think you got to think again and considerate all the things you post.Brazilians dont adapt themselves to other sites for a simple reason, most of the new sites that have been created are in english and as everyone knows most of brazilians citizens dont speak english. I can tell that because i’m a brazilian and i’ve been living here my entire life. I really dont think non portuguese-speakers have problems to pronounce the word Orkut it’s really easy. Of course there’s different between an english and a brazilian pronounciation. Another thing that i should stand up it’s myspace it’s a blog not a web site while orkut it’s definetely a profile. I’m not here only to criticise your posting but i think you’ve missed out a bit of your life writing such a thing “straight up”. I really dislike Orkut alot it’s been becoming an ancient site which it has no resources to allow the uploading of songs and video, analyzing by this point i’d actually rather bebo than myspace or Orkut. To Rebound one of your remarks that you cited Orkut’s become famous because of most of brazilians access internet from cyber cafes and so on…….it’s worth while standing up that the factor that involve Orkut becomin’ famous is that brazilians rather talk to other brazilians instead talking to foreigners you may keep thinking why they do act like that i think it’s because they love rate their own culture and their language portuguese which i think it’s hateful once Brazil’s a country with no hope of rising up. We no longer may increase this country but people always think up someday we will save this large “stranded” country.

  37. Gosh, you’ve got some really anoying readers who just want to show off! (just like many Orkut users)

    Great article, I agree with most points (except the one about the colours), and for me, Yakult = Orkut, they both bring childhood memories.

  38. Not only Brazilians..INDIANS are also community oriented…:)

    Any way I agree with your argument..

    Cheers
    Saleesh

  39. Very nice, the thing about pronuciation, I am brazilian and I know how to spell any world in english. But i know too much people here that probable wont do that.
    I liked it, anything that you need for here just mail me.

  40. I think one of the most important points hasn’t been mentioned yet. Orkut belongs to Google, which was already a trusted site in Brazil. Maybe in Brazil more than the average, trust is gained especially through being referred to by a trusted source. In this case, Google.

    No other networking site has this advantage in Brazil.

  41. Vc Pergunta:
    “Por Q Justo O Orkut?”
    Acredito Q Foi Pelo Simples Fato Dele Ter Sido O 1º A Fazer Sucesso!!!!
    Como Somos Um Povo Amigo ( Apesar Das Diferenças Gigantes D Cada Região Do País), Gostamos D Firmar Amizades Bem Como Fazer Novas.
    Assim, Vamos Procurando Adicionar Os Amigos Em Um Só Núcleo!!!
    Não Há Essa Teoria D Cor, Pronúncia Ou O Q Quer Q Seja…Trata-se Apenas Do Caminho Natural D Amigos Q Convidam Amigos & Assim Segue…
    Voltando:
    Como Os Brasileiros Têm Fortes Relações D Amizade, & Tb Uma Incrível Vocação Para A Novidade, É Óbvio Q Encontraram No Orkut Um Amplo & Diversificado Espaço D “Encontros”!
    Temos Tb Sites D Amizades Nacionais Q Não Chegam Nem Perto Da Abrangência Do Orkut, & Olha Q Seus Nomes São Em Português Mesmo & Tb Usam Cores “Nacionais”!!!!
    Em Síntese:
    Trata-se D Uma Progressão Geométrica!
    Um Abraço & Espero Ter Contribuído!!!
    P.S.: Sim, Sou Brasileiro!

  42. I think there are many Brazilians in Orkut because a big part of Brazilian people is very vain,and because Orkut is a kind of tribune.We have a communist goverment,a gang in the goverment,and the situation here is very dangerous,the crime is out of control and the Brazilian democrace is a fiction.
    Then,Orkut is being used by many Brazilian that want to write about this destroction in Brazil,specialy because the Brazilian media(newspaper,news tv show,magazines,etc.)is not honesty;and Orkut is a free area for Brazilian people say what their think and to show informations.
    Of course,there are bad people too.The communists in Brazil are teaching the hate against USA,agaisnt the democrace in Brazil and against our free institucions.So,there are many comunists rats in Orkut,using an American site,to teach the hate against USA and against the freedom.
    That’s why there are many Brazilians in Orkut.
    P.S.:Of course,Orkut is also good to have friends,from Brazil,USA and others parts of the world.

    Good Bye…

  43. What would you fell if Id say:
    “All americans thinks they own the planet”
    “The americans are the cause of 25% of the global warming and dont give a fu*k for anyone else”
    “All americans are FAT, healthless, and all they eat is junk shit fast food”
    !??!!?!?!??!?!?
    DUDE…try typing at “goo-gly”: “BRAZIL”, before saying things you dont know…
    better yet: dont…EVER…..try typing anything again(in your life!)

  44. Spot on your article was! I am Brazilian, and a member of Orkut, and the reasons you gave for Brazilians LOVING Orkut are on the spot! Great article, and do not listen to the “uncultured” people trying to make fun of it.

  45. The Portuguese pronunciation of Orkut is
    or-KOO-chee and of yogurt is yo-goor-chee.
    If you say Orkut or yogurt in Brazil, nobody knows what you’re talking about. When I was invited to join , by a Brazilian relative, I didn’t know anything about it. I speak mostly English because I have lived in NYC for the past 20 years. I found interesting the way it sounded when I first heard from a Brazilian , and because I had seen the name first in print and pronouced it in my head in English, when I first heard it spoken in Portuguese, I had to ask what Or-koo-chee meant. Brazilians , as well as Indians (the second largest number of Orkut members) , cultures are very family oriented and have much stronger community values than in more industrialized and individualistic cultures in countries like the US. That’s why blogs, and individual account based interactive sites do better in the US. The cult of personality mentality of individualism over family and community has fragmented the society, and in major metropolitan areas like NYC and LA millions live alone and lonely lives. People are also warmer and melow in Brazil because of climate and a slower pace of life. In Brazil people have colective activitities for everything. Soccer games , the national and world cups, carnaval nationwide , christmas, summer vacations for a month at the beaches , after work drinks with friends and so on. No wonder Orkut spreads like wild fire there. It is a good way for those outside the country to stay in touch with family and friends too, in a group setting as opposed to email and chatrooms.

  46. Orkut is equally famous in India…Infact it is more popular and has more users in India than Brazil.
    Some points that has been mentioned does make sense in India too.. Like communities, there are many language, state, college and even caste based communities in Orkut.
    But still…wonder what could be the USP that kicked orkut more famous than my space here?

  47. yes that is correct. even indians are community orientated and all sorts of communities are there, love this-hate that.

  48. People often forget to mention that Orkut was becoming EXTREMELY popular in America in its early days before Brazilians invaded and took it over. They utilized so much bandwidth that it became almost unusable during certain hours of the day (page errors, very slow), not to mention the general annoyingness of Brazilians who lack any amount of netiquette.

    To say it didn’t catch on in America is not telling the whole story. It was well on its way to being one of the best, if not the best, social networking site in the USA before it was sidelined by the Brazilian invasion.

    I wish you could +b *.br on some websites sometimes. :X

  49. Oh Well, I take issue with your xenophobic approach to what you call a “Brazilian invasion”, Indian or Martian. Why would there be a need to place a B or “X” to identify any given community in the Orkut network? The language used at any given forum should be a sufficient clue to you as to its origin. How about a yellow star of David to identify the Brazilian manace?

    Labeling Brazilians less ethical than any other particular group of Orkut users, it’s just a gross generalization. Stupidity knows no bounds and there’s plenty of evidence for that argument.

    Like it or not, Brazilians and Indians dominate the site, which may suggest many things. I see it as an indicator of the cultural nature of India/Brazil’s communal characteristics in contrast with American individualistic culture, however oversimplifying that may appear to be.

  50. I am from India and Orkut rocks in India too.
    http://www.orkut.com/Profile.aspx?uid=9254439081700188350

    In our case however (as in the case of Brazil too, I feel) it has nothing to do with speech.
    Social networking online is nothing but a replication of a person’s, offline social behaviour, online.
    In real life, I like to be at a place where I have my firends, to chat with them, to flirt, romance, criticise, politicise and to be part of groups. The main motivator is “My Friends”.

    Wanna know Orkuch! (the Hindi word for Anything More?)

  51. Hi all,

    All aspects cited in the are valid, the lees valid in my opinion is the colour theme (the Brazilians do not love Orkut because the soccer team)

    The name really sound likes “iogurte” my younger brother call it “iorkut” :p

    But in my opinion the most influence fact on orkut popularity is the TV influence.

    The orkut has presented in a TV program called Fantástico” from TV Globo” the most influent TV channel in Brazil.

    After that many people created orkut accounts and the think grows exponentially.

    The TV Globo really influences the Brazilian pleople :(

  52. Well, after reading all this comments about Orkut popularity in Brazil I have a moment of self discovering ” We Brazilians are doing great” .. it’s a proof that Orkut is really successfully working in Brazil and this success is totally buthering people around the world. Some others kinds of networking services over the internet have not developed as Orkut has and I wonder why?, maybe because those networking services are not filled out with people that make them better..It really makes me feel happier to know throughout Orkut we can show all over the world how Brazilians are able to make something work out when they really want to.

    We can enjoy as much as we want!

  53. Well I must say why I think brazilians choose Orkut. 1st there are different kinds of brazilians: brazilians who don’t know other social networking sites and brazilians who Do know. I know Gazzag and MySpace. About Gazzag…it’s like Orkut but there is fewer people…so why would we try it? MySpace? WTF is that site? I made a profile there sometime ago because I wanted a Gobal network and not a ‘brazilian’ one. MySpace has lack of support..a bunch of online sellers and spams…what is that? WTF is that ? rsrssr…that site is a joke. So we go to Orkut and there is…our best friends, a lot of funny people to know, communities where we can laugh, play crazy silly games and meet people. We were invited by friends, it’s not easy for some idiot spammer or seller to enter. Most communitie’s owner controls the invading spams. It’s easy to use. I think brazilians love photos and landscapes and it’s funny to see other people’s album. And to make our own.
    I think the question is how Orkut have beggining in Brazil because at this point brazilians join Orkut because their friends are already there. And I think the answer is this: why would a brazilian want to join a site like MySpace when Orkut is far better? And the answer is this too: Other countries aren’t having that much fun with Orkut. Simple like that.

  54. I also must say: There are few big countries around the world. Brazil is one of them, India is another one. One interesting question would be why USA and China aren’t using Orkut?
    In China maybe it’s forbidden…
    But in USA I can’t understand. And I can’t believe they like MyJunk.

  55. It’s just a bandwith issue, guys. Of course, the wave or rumours did its part, but after the intial reasons. The early adopters in Brazil from the technology sector chose orkut because it loaded faster than others, you know, like gmail versus hotmail. That’s it.
    Affordable bandwith in India and Brazil were, and still are, slower than in Europe or the U.S.
    And orkut was not multimedia filled at all, unlike myspace. It was simple, fast and, yeah, homogeneous: easy to figure out.

    Time. Time will always be the main reason.

  56. I am lucky to have some friends from Brazil in Orkut. I am a true lover of Brasil for their culture, friendly people, football, beaches and babes.
    Brazil Rocks!!!

  57. I’m brazilian………and sincerelly, the collor and pronounce things was the most stuped of this post!

  58. Yeh Ádrian……infortunetly Tv Globo have a lot of influence here!Globo it’s the moste famous tv Here!

  59. Hi, my name is Vitor and I’m in Orkut since 2004. The first time someone told me about orkut was in a journalism discussion group, and I asked for an invitation to join the service as a Beta tester. I remember that, in the beginning, there were so many north americans as brazilians. There were a lot of argues because of the languages. The americans started to complain against the users that have written in portuguese. So, the americans created some communities or foruns against brazilians. That made some brazilians reply writing emails to their friends and inviting everyone they knew to join Orkut to protest against xenophobia. Then a campaign started to overcome the number of american users and to assure the right to use portuguese language in foruns. I remember I used to receive emails saying that the brazilians users were close to overcome the number of american users. Suddenly, everybody was there. Your neighbor, your ex-classmate, your co-worker, the girl you like. Then started another level. When they realize that they won that “battle” and they could talk in Portuguese, they started to ask: “And Now? What does that mean? What can I do?” Orkut was a good tool without ANY ad. Then brazilians started to create games, communities of their former school, use that to chat and find another uses to that social network. That’s why it became so popular in Brazil. But, suddenly, spammers start to post scraps and “love messages”. Another guys started to stole photos to use in a fake profile. Since then started a move to “orkuticide”, an expression to define someone who comitted suicide in Orkut. Now orkut have some tools to lock the access to that photos. I know a lot of people who did that. Some of them created another profile with another identity to avoid any danger. Some migrated to another social networks services. And some still have their Orkut profile and joined MySpace, Friendster, V6, Tagged, Facebook, UOL, and others.

  60. Google (and orkut) is very popular in Brazil, because google is simple, clear, and fast. No big ads. No junk mail. I simply trust Google. Now, I trust Orkut.

  61. i’m a brazilian girl.

    I think Orkut is popular here because brazilian people are very communicative , they like to keep in touch with friends and to express their opinion and tastes. Showing which communities you have in your page is a way of showing your personality. Here, people are funny and seems to be allways in good mood. Orkut give us the opportunity of been funny, because everybody can create communities with funny contents, like: “I’m hungry but i already brushed my teeth”, “I’m
    allergic, but i am happy”, “i read imagining the voices”, and, there also some serious communities, that show us what we like, “I like popcorn”, “A nice circus is a circus without animals”, ” i love my family” and others. My Space, seems boring, and Orkut does’t.

  62. Back in 2004, when I joined orkut, I used to be a fotolog addict. But me and my friends were harassed by some crazy nutjob who anonymously threatened us. The invitation-only nature of orkut was a good reason to join it, since it felt safer.

    The only other community site I can remember from back then was Friendster, but I only had a couple of americn friends there.

  63. my gramdmother was brazilian from Jau -Sao Paulo.Can anybody help me to find out my relations.The surname is Vedovi.Thanks

  64. yeah,,man,,i also think that way,
    especially,,women,,when they love to show friends their new clothes and stuff

  65. Hi,

    I am just curious. Where did the thing Orkut/Yakult came from? I am Brazilian and I never heard of it. Neither did my friends.

  66. well, the Goo-gly thing you sayd depends on where in Brazil you are…in the southern part it might sounds like:
    Goo-glay…but most people pronounce it correctly nowadays. the Orkut/yakult/yogurt thing is true…not so big deal, “the sillier the better” as some one above sayd.
    the thing about why Im in orkut or in Msn messenger(windows live messenger) is the same…my friends are on it…so lets get to it…I do have a tagged profile, a myspace and a yahoo profile…but orkut and msn messenger live…whatever microsoft calls it…is just becouse is fast and no adds… but brazilian are the most freaky people on the planet….at least I am!

  67. I’m Brazilian, and I’ve been on Orkut for a very long time. Much before the “Brazilian invasion”.

    I remember that, in the beginning, the idea of Orkut was to invite only your closest friends, those who could add to the community. That was the pattern that was followed by people everywhere. The first Brazilians there were CS students from major universities, and then they started to spread invitations (but still, only a few invitations per user. I invited maybe three or four people).

    At some point, on the “Brasil” community, a flaming topic was started. Someone was saying that “we should be ashamed”, that “there [were] more people from Texas than from Brasil” (they had a Statistics page that showed the percentage of users from each country and from each US state), that “Brasil rules” and “Brasil should rule Orkut”. It was a “call to arms”, for people to spam Orkut invites to everyone they could in Brazil, to make the Brazilians a bigger group than any other country. Some people accepted that, and that’s where it all went downhill.

    Despite some people’s protests, some started spamming invitations, and asking the invited people to do the same. At some point, Brazilians were over 50% of Orkut. After that, people who I’m ashamed to call my “fellow countrymen” began to post in Portuguese in every single community. International moderators would tell them that they should stick to English in international communities; then, a bunch of offenses about how “we are the majority” and “you must shut up and accept that your country sucks and Brazil rules” would be thrown. People from every other country just gave up on the service, so only the Brazilians remained.

    The “Indian invasion” started after Google made it harder to go to communities in other languages than your own, so they didn’t feel the power of the stupidity of the Brazilian masses.

  68. nobody here knows what friendster is. Even myspace. MySpace is for bands, actually for unknown bands, and that’s all 4 us!

    Facebook just started some kind of “i’ve already heard about….”. But everyone aks me what it is. and i usually say: “the same as Orkut, but with a worse and boring interface”. People who has Facebook profile doesn’t use it. Just because everybody has an Orkut profile. I just use my Facebook to talk with foreign friends.

    And yes. We’re pround of orkut domination!

  69. I tried to use others sites as facebook, myspace, hi5… But orkut is easiest!! Is more beautiful and functional!
    And all my friends are in orkut!! I love apreciating the my friends´s photos, I love seeing the stranger´s person orkut!!!

    It´s cool, but I don´t know why!

  70. What puzzles me about Orkut is that it’s a fantastic case of “what not to do” in terms of usability. It’s super anti-intuitive to use (high learning curve, not exactly made easy/doesn’t follow many conventions). And still it’s this popular – at least in Brazil.

  71. “All understood. But the question is… Why Orkut?”

    It’s simples than it seems: it came here first.

    Depending on how you color your POV, Brazilians are either very conformist or loyal. Either way, once they adopt a service (note that doesn’t apply to the Internet only), a place to go, a brand or whatever, it’s hard to get them to use a competitor or alternative.

    Orkut spread into the Brazilian internet community by word of mouth way before MySpace or Facebook ever considered advertising.

    It’s as simple as that, really. Now it will take a lot of marketing effort and time to reverse this, even if any sane person recongnizes how it’s a lot more counter-intuitive then some of its competitors.

    The “all my friends are there, that’s why” argument may sound like a reason, but it’s actually a consequence of what really happened.

    Note also that Orkut is only the most obvious account of this phenomenon. It actually applies to other markets and services. For example, I have the distinct impression that most ‘semi-professional’ bloggers prefer LiveJournal or WordPress, but in here Blogger is still more popular (again, it came here first, both in word of mouth and language localization).

  72. f brazil yea brazil is nice but the girls are hoes why i say that is because they are well some are hoes anyways i would live their but their is just one reason why i would not live their there is a girl that i don’t like i hate her name is juliana don’t know her last name but she went out with my bf hiss name is C _______ Reyes from north high school and from USA im not going to give his whole name out but yea if anyone fines that bitch w/b at maurissa_hp15@yahoo.com well bye and thanks xoxo Kakaka

  73. lol I read everything, and the post i love. When it comes a post with big discussion, it reveals it was a good post, at least, lots of people read it. Interesting post, and after some years, some of things are on past. ‘Yakult’ term has gone… Maybe because the past-members has grown up 3 or 4 years, and don’t want to look like a silly, saying ‘iorgute’. I used to tell that, but now… lol
    however, its good to know a non brazilian has ‘studied’ a phenomenon that has occured in Brazil, which means, people cannot say anymore we’re living in a big and wild jungle. lol I heard lots of jokes from americans and europeans how I had visited their country lol
    As a matter of fact, orkut is a real social networking and an easy going website. MySpace, Friendster, facebook are pretty different and they have somehow complicated layout. anyway…
    Rogerrrrrrrr

  74. Orkut works best for us.. I love orkut. It gives me freedom to see, write testimonials, write scraps, messages, share, and spread happiness.. it has narrowed the barriers. I am not sure why we dont like facebook , maybe we stick to one thing and stay with it.

  75. i came to orkut to have my frinds besides me…..& i came across few friends from brazil…..& note they send me scraps & greetings in their kind of english….but the thing i want to say is they remenber me more then my nearby friends do……..i agree that they are the best kind of friends i have got…..

  76. that is one of reasons that I am not proud to be “brazilian”. indeed I don’t think that I have any nationality.
    I am “brazilian” only on my identification card also I don’t like to be compared with these such delayed and stupid people that mean 99% of brazilians.

  77. I spent 2 years in Brazil and know the country and the people very well. Brazilians are very hospitable and outwardly friendly, but underneath it all, a lot of them are very dishonest, conniving, scheming, machiavellian, scandalous, shady, gingoistic, and childishly proud and competitive. You can have a good time hanging out with Brazilians, but always be super cautious and don’t trust them until you really, really get to know them.

  78. The reason Orkut had such a big acceptance in Brazil, in my opinion, is because somehow Google managed to create, of course unintentionally, a place where we felt like home in Internet, even though, like I said, it was not created with this purpose (I believe Google had in mind only the USA when creating Orkut). So, for me, this is it. I feel at home in Orkut, like if it was made here in Brazil. As for Facebook, Friendster, etc, I find them cool, but I feel like I am joining a truly foreign community. And, there’s no place like home, the old saying goes lol

  79. Orkut is Google’s social networkign site!, damn i’ve been using google gmail for many years yet I didnt get a single email from google regarding Orkut. Funny thing is I found out after a friend from India asked to get on Orkut loooooooooooool!

  80. Here, Orkut is like an identity card – everyone have one – when you get in the computer world, the first thing is creating an e-mail, don’t? Ok, in Brazil, an e-mail isn’t enough, they want to see a picture of the person, comment their photos, and more, not only send a mail and wait for the answer. More that a like, it’s a custom.

  81. Hey,

    good article.

    I have to say that “futbol” and “differencia social” are not Portuguese. ;)

    The pronunciation of “Google” should have been more like “goo-goal” (the “L” not pronounced)…

    Not sure pronunciation really is one of the factors that make it popular, neither what makes it easy to spell. Hotmail, Yahoo and others are just as easy to spell once you see the words…

  82. Orkut is simple and has no advertising. And It was the first decent network website that came around that time. It soon has a portuguese version and made it even easier. That is all about it, and I never ever have seen so much rubbish about social psychology as in this comment, it makes me laugh! Its not that “Orkut ” does not sound like “Yogurt and Yakult” in english as well! Also only brazilians move from town to town and want to know about their old friends.
    Now this is the worst: “… users can prequalify the new friends they make by judging their ability to access the Internet, write and read correctly…” Is Orkut a new IQ TESTING WEBSITE????? Why do we need ENEM in Brazil, let’s check our teenagers orkut profiles!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Mobilty? ORKUT IS THE ONLY SOCIAL WEBSITE THAT CAN BE ACESSED FROM INTERNET CAFES! AMAZING! and ill stop here because i’ve got better things to do than read this kind of article from ANTHROPOLOGISTs WANNABEs …

  83. Tenta traduzir isso aqui, mané, porque eu não vou escrever na sua língua, mesmo que eu saiba, uma coisa que voce não deve saber, só sabe falar esse ingles e falar dos brasileitos como se fosses estúpidos..Faz assim: usa o seu GOOGLE pra traduzir isso aqui então. Os brasileiros, mesmo que com seus defeitos, são muuito mais inteligentes que muitas noções, nas quais se acham tão superiores. Vá estudar e conhecer antes de querer falar alguma coisa sobre esse povo! Vá ficar obeso ai nesse seu país, e se dane.

  84. Tenta traduzir isso aqui, mané, porque eu não vou escrever na sua língua, mesmo que eu saiba, uma coisa que voce não deve saber, só sabe falar esse ingles e falar dos brasileitos como se fosses estúpidos..Faz assim: usa o seu GOOGLE pra traduzir isso aqui então. Os brasileiros, mesmo que com seus defeitos, são muuito mais inteligentes que muitas noções, nas quais se acham tão superiores. Vá estudar e conhecer antes de querer falar alguma coisa sobre esse povo! Vá ficar obeso ai nesse seu país, e se dane.

  85. after living in brazil for two years, I have meet a few people that were hard working and reliable, but sadly the majority are only interested in the jeito brasiliero, ¨brazilian way¨ which means taking sort cuts to get what you want, even if it means lying and stealing and hurting others, trust them to do something and you will be sorry, they are experts at tricky you out of your money and often you wont realize it until its to late, they think in short terms gains, take maximum advantage of a situation or person, because it may not be there tomorrow, after living in over thirty countries and going to all in south america i can say the brazil take the cake literally if they can, for being the king of con artists and if you, don´t agree, it only a matter of time, and you will find out the hard way. make sure you know someone for a very very long time before you trust them I have seen people who thought they where freinds with someone after a couple of months, get large amounts stolen from them, and i have not just seen this on one occasion but more times then what i like to remember, so all you newbies in brazil, watch out for your own good

    1. Do not generalize, dude. There are a lot of bad people, sure. But I ask you: are all the people bad? No! There are bad people but most of we are good people. Sorry, but you were very unlucky. Everyone I know here in Brazil are good ones and they are very honest. Think about it!

  86. there is not a ‘brazilian way’ for me. please, use this terms for a specific public in brazil. im proud to be brazilian and i dont think the class A/B do things by the easiest way.

  87. So, you miss something out. Yogurt is a Turkish word (written like yoğurt in Turkey Turkish, pronounciation in other Turkish languages will be similar) and naturally, it’s a Turkish (elders) invention. I don’t really know what is Yakult but I think it’s a Japanese recreation of yogurt (probably child drink?!) I just wanted to share because it made me feel weired. And btw, Orkut’s founder is Orkut Büyükkökten (a product manager of Google) and also he is Turkish.