Memes, as you may know, are concepts and ideas that go viral. Internet culture has only recently adopted the word to mean a picture with text above and below signifying a funny punchline. Classic memes include this kid eating sand. It’s now commonly used to signify triumph, as you can see.
Ubox is a new social interest-based network in Vietnam that has introduced a unique way of commenting on a post, which the company calls “Memestyle”. The website’s comment box includes a meme editor where users can create their own new memes on the spot instead of having to go to services like Meme Creator.
Users are not restricted to posting memes however. They can also post comments, photos, and even customized stickers. In this way, it leapfrogs Facebook, which only recently enabled users to leave photos in the comment thread.
On top of a meme creator, users on Ubox can form #hashtags around the content on the site. Hashtags on UBox, unlike Twitter and Facebook, allow spacing in between words.
If you think there are too many features pumped into one new social network, maybe UBox’s numbers will convince you.
UBox has been in open beta for only the last four weeks, and has over 25,000 registered users and 1,000 daily active users. But the website is getting over 2.5 million pageviews per day and 120,000 daily unique visitors from non-registered and registered users, and the majority of them are Vietnamese. In other words, users are clicking around the site a lot. There’s currently more than one million tags on the website and three million posts so far.
An evolution from Timbox to UBox
UBox is actually an evolution of a project under CNC Mobile, a mobile startup company based in Vietnam’s northern capital, Hanoi. CNC Mobile worked on a similar product to UBox called TimBox, which closely resembles Facebook Home. TimBox was loaded with features and interesting design elements, but failed to gain traction.
Thao Nguyen, CEO of CNC Mobile, claims that Facebook stole the idea for Home straight from Timbox. If you look very carefully, you can see some stark similarities between the original Timbox, which Thao showcased at TechCrunch Disrupt 2012 and the eventual Facebook Home. But like Facebook Home, Timbox didn’t gain traction and Thao pivoted into UBox, which hits home for Asian users.
Bringing UBox across Asia
Currently, Thao is looking to expand UBox into surrounding countries like Indonesia and Thailand, where he believes that users will gravitate towards Memestyle commenting. Thao believes that UBox suits a wholly new niche that doesn’t compete directly with Twitter and Facebook.
These social networks have comments that are more text-based, which generally lead to more serious conversations. UBox, on the other hand, is about having fun online. That’s why we’re looking more deeply into memes, which allows users to have a laugh.
(Editing by Terence Lee)