First and most popular Hungarian social network
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iWiW (International Who is Who) was the first and certainly the most popular Hungarian social networking website. Started in 2002 as WiW, later reformed as iWiW, it was the most visited Hungarian website between 2005 and 2010. During its heyday it had 1.5 million visitors daily, and with nearly 5 million user profiles it covered the whole internet-using population of Hungary.
The service was started as WiW by Zsolt Várady on April 14, 2002, being the first such site in Hungary. Among the things that inspired him were sociometry and the American website SixDegrees.com, said Várady. Although it was unexpected, after a month it could be seen that the site will be a success (although that time membership was bound to invitation, and this remained so until 2011). In the first months, the userbase consisted of people who globally, more or less, knew each other, and sometimes held occasions together. But after a year, due to the rapid raise in the number of users, this didn't remain the same. The quick and unexpected expansion caused a large burden and a need for specialists (developers, sysadmins, lawyers) and infrastructure. In spite of the instant success, though, no serious investors had appeared for years. That time employees worked for free, and the company collected donations.
Thanks to the invitation-based system, fake profiles were very rare, although users' identity was not checked in any ways.
In 2005, the site was renamed from WiW to iWiW and was deeply redesigned. That time it had 100,000 users.
In 2006, iWiW was bought up by Origo Zrt (subsidy of Hungarian Telecom), for 1 billion forints (~ $4.7 million). Number of profiles reached 1 million, invitation had to be temporarily restricted to slow down the growth. After the change of owner, the service got supplied with the necessary equipment, including a hundred server machines.
2007: 2 million profiles, 6,000 new ones daily
Christmas 2008: 4 millionth profile
2010: serious redesign on the site having 4.6 million profiles
2012: 4.7 million profiles, 150,000 groups, half a billion relations, 86 million photos.
As a rival, another, soon significant social network myVIP appeared in 2006, but the sites could live next to each other and were both popular.
Facebook became available in Hungarian language in 2008, it gained popularity from that time. In 2010, Facebook's popularity reached that of iWiW's, and then it took over and these Hungarian sites soon lost most of their users and became deserted. Other possible reasons for the decline include the late introduction of features such as applications and news feed. Also, the 2010 redesign was not really welcomed by the users.
In early 2014, iWiW still had ~70,000 visitors daily, but, especially compared to the time having 1.5 million visitors daily, it was unsustainable. As the site started to become unprofitable, they made the decision to close it. It was announced on May 15, 2014 that iWiW will shut down on June 30.
Users were able to snapshot their profile page, and, more importantly, their contacts, messages and photos could be exported in a "time capsule".
iWiW closed at midnight on June 30, 2014. The iwiw.hu domain redirects to origo.hu since.
No archive of the site was made. Wayback Machine has got ~250,000 URLs snapshotted, but, considering the size of the site, we can say that this important part of Hungarian web history is lost.
About two weeks before the closure, a new website appeared called iWiW2 on iwiw2.com, claiming itself to be the successor of iWiW and calling iWiW users to enter their login credentials so that iWiW2 staff can copy their user contents from iWiW. The ugly and quickly built-up site was created obviously for phishing purposes and soon disappeared.
Another try of revival is iwiw.club, started in April 2016, and 3 months later it is still online. However, it doesn't look too successful. An unknown "news site" wrote in its articleBeware! Lies! in April that "Although it was just a few days ago that the largest news sites wrote about it, number of users can be estimated to tens of thousands." As of July 2016, no news sites seem to have written about it, and according to the • • • main page, there are as many as 35 registered users.