HaiVL: Vietnam’s Funniest Website Gets 2 Million Hits Per Day After Just 1 Year

Anh-Minh Do
8:00 pm on May 15, 2013


Content in Vietnam is a wasteland. Most of the nation’s users are flocking to forums where most of the content is being generated. For the past four years or so, much of the user-generated content has been on forums like Kenh14, a general board with topics spannng lifestyle to sports to fashion, and which is owned by internet juggernaut VC Corp. It has long been one of the hottest places to get on the Vietnamese internet. I’ve heard on the grapevine that it gets anywhere from 2.5 million to four million unique visits per day. On the other side, there’s the more niche forum Web Tre Tho which has over one million users who are mostly women.

(UPDATE: It has come to my attention from VC Corp, that it is not exactly a forum in the traditional sense. But it is still a central place in which people comment and talk about modern day issues according to topic, some consider this to be a “forum”, others not. Also, I want to clarify that “Content is a wasteland” does not mean Vietnam’s content is bad, but means that it is not organized very well, especially the user-generated type.)

To me, this forum-obsessed internet (common across most of developing Asia) is holding back richer content models like could be something more like Quora, Reddit, Digg, Wikipedia, and more. This is why HaiVL is one of my absolute favorite startups in Vietnam, because they’ve cracked a content problem. In just one year, with one developer, the site has achieved two million unique visits per day, which could mean anywhere from 30 to 60 million per month. That’s impressive for a team of just 5 people.

Hai, literally means “comical”, “funny” or “hilarious”. And that’s the prime focus of the website. It’s a platform for users to throw up funny images (or videos, which make up for 1/10 of posts) that they found or created and other users can like or comment on them. Users are uploading 3,000 to 4,000 photos per day. It’s a spitting image of 9gag (which currently gets 65 million uniques per month). And HaiVL’s got serious traction. I spoke to Vo Thanh Quang, co-founder and CEO of AppVL, the small company that is totally focused on HaiVL, their main product. He said:

We didn’t expect the kind of growth that we now have. At first, I just started out alone, and after not doing Place.vn which didn’t totally take off. Then suddenly, I started to see huge growth and had to hire a team to deal with our scaling. Now, today, we’re already running a profitable business with stable revenue.

The HaiVL team has also built apps for Android and iOS which respectively both got about 50,000 views per day, and 700,000 downloads in total. The majority of the users are within the 17 to 30 age range. And HaiVL’s revenue comes from ads. The key growth has been on Facebook, where they’e got over 1.5 million ‘likes’ on their fanpage. In fact, HaiVL is very closely tied to Facebook since users can only post if they have a Facebook account, and much of their early growth can be attributed to engaging Facebook heavily. But today, of their two million unique hits, 50 percent of them come directly. That means it’s seeping steadily into the consciousness of Vietnamese netizens. In the future:

We’re looking at just staying really focused and growing our userbase to 10 million unique visits per day. We also just added an editing function so that users can edit their photos online. That’s a long way off, and getting there will take time, especially since our growth up to now has been largely linear.

Another cool thing about HaiVL, is you start to see a new face of Vietnam. Although it’s about funny images, users often post very supportive images about poverty or the environment that also get lots of upvotes. The average popular image gets about 500 upvotes. As far as censorship goes, in case you were wondering, HaiVL does have a policy to take down any content that is politically sensitive or porn/nudity. Any user who violates these rules gets booted from the site within 30 minutes, their content gets taken down, and the user is not allowed to post ever again.

I think this is a really cool startup to look out for, mainly because it’s pushing Vietnam’s content space to the next level. We’ll keep you posted when they hit their next million.

  • Xem phim

    It’s awesome. But I think every will be saturated soon. Anw, congrats

  • Xoắn Tít

    Tôi yêu Việt Nam


    I lone VIỆT NAM

  • Chan ga goi dem

    congratulations haivl …

  • linh

    haivl.com đưa tôi tới đây:)

  • http://haivl.com Hoàng Dũng

    HaiVL có mặt

  • Wind đẹp trai

    Haivl đã đưa tao đến đêy.

  • Han U Ri

    Vietnam boasts two words…

  • http://haivl.com Trần Mạnh Tiến

    tớ đã ở đây để chứng kiến cảnh tượng hoành tá tràng này hehe
    Haivl ;D muôn năm!! Việt Nam muôn năm….

  • http://haivl.com Đạt

    Haivl có mặt, điểm danh cho tụi nó choáng nèo @@

  • Tran Tuan

    Oh yeah, việt nam lên đây chúc mừng nè! có tên trên bảng vàng 😀

  • Trường

    Vietnam <3

  • tai zalo

    haivl vô đối rồi …………………………. :3

  • Phồng Tôm

    Đấm phát chết luôn. Đm cái captcha

  • VietNam

    foreign sites, advertisements Vietnam?

  • Vương

    HAI = funny and VL stands for extremely happy =))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))00

  • Công Dân Việt Nam

    Hihi….Việt Nam ta đó.

  • http://haivl.com Béo Lòi Xương ( Bá Đạo )

    haivl đông vui quá :))

  • Công Dân Việt Nam

    Việt Nam muôn nơi

  • Lemon Boutique

    Haivl đã đưa em đến đây!

  • Tuan Anh

    Seriously HaiVL needs to look for a way to resolve the “VL” part. I guess since the founders didn’t expect the site to gain this level of success, they didn’t pick their site name seriously, or may I say they didn’t care less about putting in some original tweaks. Yes it’s another 9gag clone like a few other in the market, they didn’t have to sweat, but I think they should at least try to increase the quality of content and user courtesy. Most of their contents are ripoffs from 9gag and other Korean, Chinese joke sites and their comments quality is horrible. I guess you can see that right in the comment section of this post, too. They better start finding a way to differentiate themselves, otherwise good luck with another let’s-clone-and-hope-it’ll-work startup.

  • Kiều Vũ

    haivl.com đã đưa tôi đến đây

  • bach

    vui quá trang yêu thích của mình

  • Vô Cảm

    Hài VL có mặt :v

  • mr.Đ-Việt Nam

    Hi everyone. I’m from Vietnam and I was a member of haivl.com. I’m glad to be haivl.com foreign websites mentioned. However if you service overseas you a few comments on the Vietnam side, do not laugh because of the way they say is: Haivl.com put me here or: Haivl.com available. That is just the way to show the joy of some community members haivl.com.

  • Thánh Heo

    haivl.com mang tôi đến đây

  • http://haivl.com chung

    haivl đã đưa tao tới đây

  • http://haivl.com Boo

    điểm danh haivl nào :v

  • trang


  • Henry Nguyen

    I agree with Tuan Anh (commentor above) about the low quality of content and community of Haivl. Don’t get me wrong – I think there is nothing wrong with cloning successful models abroad, in this case, 9gag and its pre-decessors. And I think Haivl team has done a fabulous job with the traction.

    But at the same time, to claim that Haivl “is one of my absolute favorite startups in Vietnam, because they’ve cracked a content problem.cracked a content problem” is pretty far-fetched. I don’t think one can claim that sites like Haivl is the pioneer and saving grace in helping Vietnam Internet move from “forum-obsessed” to “richer content models like could be something more like Quora, Reddit, Digg, Wikipedia, and more.” Aside from it being user-generated (in this case, a significant portion is “generated” from low-quality ripoffs of overseas content), aspects such as user experience, community dynamics, user behavior, content quality, etc are far from conducive to moving Vietnam Internet community towards a more richer content model that the author mentioned.

    Haivl is a great team with great execution. But to claim what they have now as “pushing Vietnam’s content space to the next level” is just inaccurate.

  • jupiterjimble

    Ai HAIVL vậy? :)

  • Terry Tran

    Totally agree with Tuan Anh & Henry Nguyen’s comments, HaiVL attracting more users but they also have bad effects on Vietnam Internet community. You can see the issues by reading many comments on YouTube clips, Facebook personal pages from some of Vietnamese.

    Webtretho ‘s so good in content management and they success with that strategy.

  • hieu

    Webtretho ‘s so good in content management and they success with that strategy.

  • Cash

    Tuan Anh, Henry Nguyen: I don’t think the quality of content its community is low. It’s Vietnamese community and its users don’t have to be good at English to comment here, they couldn’t care less about what techinasia.com is about.

    If you check the Hot content at http://www.haivl.com/hot. The hot pictures are getting thousands Facebook likes, hundreds of comments, few of comments get hundreds of up votes themselves. Comments are even funnier than the image and the users are interacting with comments by up vote and reply to quality one. I don’t think if there is any site from Vietnam can do better than that.

    The content quality itself is measured by users’ satisfactions, technically speaking it’s all about bounce rate, time on site and daily pageviews per user, which can be inferred from many data tracking sources. Let’s look in to Alexa’s data when comparing haivl’s data with other sites. Take 9gag as an example: haivl’s bounce rate is 32%, ways better than 9gag’s 52%; haivl’s average daily pageviews per user is 10.69, which is 2.85 times better than 9gag 3.75; haivl’s average time on site is 15.21 minutes, which is 2.45 times of 9gag’s 6.20 minutes.

    I think these numbers says a lot of things about how haivl has become what it is today.

  • http://www.topteam.co Jeff

    Smart strategy, good content management, congrats!

  • http://gonewithewind.wordpress.com Dan Tran

    After HaiVL’s success, there are several competitors in Vietnam’s market who create similar 9gag sites. Ex dongcam.vn.
    I foresee HaiVL will face a lot of competition from other user-generated contents website. Now it has the advantage of first mover. I am very eager to see how AppVL could keep its position staying at the top 10 in Alexa Vietnam.

    I also agree with Cash, HaiVL is an example of 9gag applying well to local market with language/location specific. User- generated contents are important, but the community behind are not less important also.

  • http://smarterbysharing.com Preetam

    “To me, this forum-obsessed internet (common across most of developing Asia) is holding back richer content models like could be something more like Quora, Reddit, Digg, Wikipedia, and more. ” < – I don't know what is wrong with forums. They have far richer information compared to curated sites in Asia that inevitably become link-baits or blog for their advertisers. For example, you can get lot more info on hotels in Nigeria on Chinese forums then say on Lonely Planet or any organized travel site. Also, as long as online freedom is not 100% assured, people will feel more comfortable posting on forums where they have some anonymity.

  • HCMC

    The idea is not very new (as 9gag was popular before). However the way how they implement and execute is so different. I bet hardly someone fully understands the key points of their success.

  • http://www.haivl.com Tam

    I’m haivl member :))

  • Tai game android

    Tuyệt vời :)

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