Cyworld to Face Shutdown

Korea’s most popular social media site in the 2000s, Cyworld, is now facing business shutdown after failing to revive the dying platform following a struggle with a fast decreasing user base.

The company abruptly stopped its service on October 1 without issuing any notice making the social media platform not accessible via its website or mobile application.

CEO Jeon Jae-wan including its company officials has been out of contact after Jeon commented on the difficulties in managing the service in July. Industry officials said that the social media platform is now on the verge of shutting down.

Jeon is also the founder of the country’s first-generation portal site named Freechal, which is currently inoperable. He wrote on his Cyworld account in July.

“Everyone regarded my sincerity to revamp the platform as a reckless challenge or money-spinner… I guess it is time to stop operating the platform.”

The current situation of Cyworld is generating negative feedback from its users. They are worried that they cannot back up their photos and texts uploaded on the platform. The users disapproved of the company as it did not issue any announcement about the closing of its service.

A netizen wrote, “I am about to lose my diaries, photos, and videos that I stored in Cyworld for the past ten years. Maybe it is my fault for not making a backup because everyone knew it was only a matter of time before the company stopped the service.”

According to the Korean business act, operators should notify the users of their social media platform being shutdown 30 days before the said shutdown. The company should have issued yesterday to its users that the domain of the service’s website is scheduled to expire on November 12

Cyworld, which launched in 1999, enjoyed its popularity in the mid-2000s, reporting about 100 billion won ($85 million) in annual sales with around 32 million users.

However, the platform fell behind services such as Facebook and Twitter after failing to adjust its PC-based service to the mobile environment when the smartphone era started to boom.

The company became independent after separating from the subsidiary of SK Group, SK Communications, in 2014. The subsidiary ran the platform from 2003 to 2013 and purchased by the CEO of AireLive, Jeon. Airelive is a local video chatting service company. Cyworld raised 5 billion won in 2017 from Samsung Group‘s venture capital arm to revitalize the dead platform. The firm launched an online news service, which also failed.

The company fell short of making payment to its content provider resulting in provisional seizing of its assets.

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