Douban can not die and it will not die.

Posted by zaiwu 25/09/2019 0 Comment(s) China Social Media Marketing, Doing Business in China,

As for the people who do not use douban , it is difficult to imagine that how  much is the  user viscosity of douban.One user, haberian, wrote: 'How do you feel about some of your friends on douban? You may not have seen them, and they are not your friends. But when you think about them, you will feell that the world is still a good place.'


Douban is the first Chinese website that has not to borrowed from foreign Internet.The name douban comes from a hutong in Beijing which is called douban hutong.On March 6, 2005, the douban website created by Yang bo was officially launched.Yang bo positioned douban as a "community site" around books、videos and music, helping users "find like-minded people through things they like, and then find more good things through them."This concept was originally created by Yang bo. Until now, douban is one of the rare websites in China that has not borrowed from foreign Internet.Literary and artistic youth do not have no commercial value, but need to find the right way of realization.





The active and passive differentiation of douban


There seem to be two worlds in douban.First, "literary and artistic youth" gathered in the world of books, movies and music; second, "melon eating masses" occupied the gossip group.There seems to be an invisible boundary between the two sides, douban as the middle side also from these two worlds to draw different nutrients.


Books were the original center of douban.One of the first users came for books, where they used the most popular library feature.Until now, no Chinese website has been able to replace douban in reading function.After reading, douban has launched a movie and music function.Douban movie is one of douban's most successful products.Domatters learned from douban's product owner that as of the second quarter of 2019, there were 196 million registered users of douban, among which there were about 100 million monthly active users of douban movies.Douban focuses on UGC content such as ratings and film reviews, so it attracts a lot of passersby.In addition to books, video and audio, offline city and online group are also douban's early functions.From books, movies and music, to the city activities, and then to group discussion, this is a smooth product chain.In November 2007, douban passed the 1 million mark.By the end of 2009, douban reached 10 million users.


After the base of registered users increased, douban internal differentiation also occurred.A decade ago, the users of douban was considered a "literary youth" and douban is a "forced shrine space" for wenqing.With eight groups as the dividing line, douban now coexists two distinct user groups.



At present, douban has more than 600,000 groups, divided into 27 categories, including drama, film and television, reading, life, art, music, food, entertainment and games.Most of the groups have been occupied by entertainment gossip, stars, idols, self-improvement, life trivia and other topics. It is difficult to associate douban with "literature and art" just by looking at the douban group homepage.In addition to the active transfer of users, douban group expansion and the influx of external users is not unrelated.After tianya BBS failed, a large number of original tianya users came here.Douban group has gradually become the new gossip.This part of users not only changed the proportion and influence of entertainment to the group, but also brought "culture of fandom" into douban.






With the release of douban movie  to muck out, douban's user base has expanded.But even in its 15th year, douban has not completely removed the label of "literature and art".This stereotype makes sense.For most people, douban is just a rating site of book, film, music .But in addition, douban also has tongcheng, group, FM, time and other products, around book、music and video.Together, they form a unique ecosystem in douban's world.A significant number of social groups live in this ecosystem.They can only make connections on douban.


While the entire Internet world is chasing third-tier and fourth-tier cities, douban is struggling to break through.Douban is much more popular than it was a decade ago, but most of its target users are still in first - and second-tier cities.For the stability of the existing ecosystem, douban should not sink too fast.From platform construction, content output, to community norms, interests to make a living......In the face of increasingly commercial douban, most old users have expressed understanding.Even so, they still miss the "utopia" they first walked into.


Douban commercialization and its users of anti-business


In 2010, douban began to become a community, paving the way for the growth of melon eaters.Through function split, douban community took over douban's main domain name, and built douban reading, douban movie and douban music three sub-stations.Douban has always encouraged users to make friends based on their interests. No matter fans of movies, books or music, they can find people with common interests on douban and build their own small circle. This is also the original intention of douban as a vertical platform.


In 2011, douban began to transfer from PC to mobile. It has launched more than a dozen vertical apps such as douban FM, douban reading, douban notes, douban movie, douban group, douban city and online activities, trying to continue the concept of "interest and friendship".In fact, what douban users dislike is not douban's commercial attempts, but the fact that douban is increasingly indifferent to user experience, one of which is excessive community.However, vertical App broke the synergy effect of PC end and split the users of douban, and finally lost the battle with Internet giants and disappeared after the waves.


In 2014, douban App was launched, which is a comprehensive platform integrating all functions of douban. Obviously, it is a choice made from a commercial perspective.


In July 2018, douban launched a major revision of its App, which moved broadcasting to the home page to become "dynamic" and added "recommendation" to the home page to help users "discover the content of movies and books they are interested in".At the same time, a special "bazaar" section was set up, including douban doupin, an e-commerce service, and douban time, a knowledge payment function. One user concluded, "the position of making money is more conspicuous."


In the eyes of old users, the functions of douban, such as friend-neighbor, broadcasting, retransmission (forwarding broadcast) and douban post, are all cultural symbols of douban.Now, friends and neighbors have become each other's attention, broadcasting has become dynamic, retransmission has become forwarding, douban mail has become private mail, and tens of thousands of people are eating melons -- douban is losing its particularity and becoming "another microblog".






At present, the main income source of douban is still brand advertising. In addition to the open screen and page ads of App, there are also user information flow ads.As a result, users will be forced to see ads pushed by douban when they browse the content they follow.This business logic is adopted by most mobile Internet products, such as weibo, zhihu, tencent news, toutiao, mobile taobao and jingdong mall.Douban has also seen a lot of ads for real estate, as well as hard promotions such as computers, dating websites and e-commerce apps.Open screen advertising also appeared vulgar games and traffic star birthday posters.


In addition, douban also passively accepted the outside business activities, mainly for the third party intervention scoring system.Chen qin, a researcher with fudan university's school of economics, said at the Shanghai film festival in 2015 that a movie released over the weekend with a higher score on douban could earn an extra 350,000 yuan at the box office, proving the commercial value of douban ratings.This kind of commercial value is honey to douban, but it is arsenic to the user.


Although douban said that "it is the daily work of douban to oppose abnormal ratings", from the user's perspective, the objectivity of douban ratings is weakening.Film producers, book publishers, music distributors and fans have greatly increased the water content of douban ratings.Some users are so angry that they give a star to a piece that doesn't deserve a high score.The "one star movement" is more and more, which is also a reflection of the anti-commercialization of users to some extent.


It is worth noting that in addition to these dissatisfaction, douban more business behavior is accepted by users.Because of the particularity of douban, no one CARES more about the life and death of douban than douban users.Some even joked that users were more anxious than founders on douban's path to commercialization.





Douban can not die and douban will not die.


Besides douban, in the Chinese Internet world, it is difficult to find another big website targeting "literary and artistic youth", because literary and artistic youth are often not rich and their money is not easily earned.Even if you look around the world, there are very few people who write about literature. One of them is Goodreads, which some people call American douban.Goodreads is a book reading website founded in 2007. It was acquired by amazon in 2013. With its capital base and book bazaar, Goodreads quickly developed into the largest online book reading community in the world.Compared with Goodreads, douban's growing soil is obviously not as fertile, and its internal institutions are much more complex. The business path is not easy.


In 2011, north announced that douban has been basically profitable.In September 2011, douban completed a third round of financing of $50 million, after which it began more aggressive business attempts.In May 2012, douban launched douban reading and movie ticket purchasing functions, and then launched the paid version of douban radio Pro.In September 2013, douban launched douban east east and entered the field of e-commerce.In June 2016, douban announced the establishment of a subsidiary "spaceship pictures" to support the creation of young directors.In March 2017, douban launched its revenue-oriented douban time, entering the field of knowledge payment.So far, douban's fourth round of financing has not come, sometimes heard listing news has also been quiet.Instead, douban FM and douban read entered the game after silence and completed financing from tencent and lemon meng pictures respectively.Although not as strong as other Internet companies, douban is also a step by step on the road to commercialization.


Users are happy with douban's growth, and they will make contributions spontaneously.For example, douban's homemade t-shirts, umbrellas, notebooks, canvas bags, mugs and so on can get good sales.Especially when the annual movie calendar comes out, it always sells out.Another example is douban time courses, most of which are related to books, movies and music, and there are few widely popular success studies and wealth classics.On the fifth day of the launch of douban time, the sales volume exceeded 1 million yuan. The poetry class in beidao, the recitation class of ye jiaying and the film class of dai jinhua were all well received.These business activities, like book purchase links, are in line with douban culture and user value orientation, and can even become part of the douban ecosystem.This also proves that literary and artistic youth are not without commercial value, but need to find the right way to realize.


Douban is known as a slow company in the industry and is not eager to make a profit.Take scoring, we compare douban and other scoring sites, douban is the industry conscience.With the influence of douban score, if douban gives up the initiative of score, users can not even "one-star movement".It can be said that douban rarely easily catch up with the big trend of the Internet, even if it makes investors issued a "later death will not cast douban" exclamation, or to maintain the hearts of users xanadu.In this context, douban has come to this day, in addition to a simple commercial attempt, relying on this group of users who are difficult to leave douban.





Most of the old users stay in douban, one is for books, movies, music this easy to use system, but also because of douban people.If there are stars and web celebrity on weibo and classmates and colleagues on WeChat, then on douban there are a group of strangers connected by the same interests and similar views, and they know what you are thinking even better than their acquaintances.In addition, many regular users attach great importance to the marks they leave on douban, such as the radio, diary, photo album and post, in addition to the record and comments of books, videos and music.To this end, users have developed their own backup tools, which is enough to see the status of douban in the hearts of users.


To this day, douban is still regarded as a pure land in the Chinese Internet world by many users. Even the typical wenqing users with numerous complaints acknowledge douban's unique value: "if douban dies, it will be a great loss to the overall environment of China's Internet."The success of the Internet is not just a measure of how much money you make.Old users of douban, who experienced the "utopian" period, will complain about the lengthy and grinding revision.However, under the current Internet environment and social background, douban is a safe haven for both book video and audio users and melon users.Because there is such a group of users can not leave douban, so douban will not die and it can not die.



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