This Korean-American blogger does make a good point about how Cyworld was way ahead of its time and wasn’t allow to reach its full potential because of the restrictive nature of the Korean Internet:
David Hwang is the founder of a blog called HwangC. He says while the Korean Internet can be light-years ahead of other countries, it is still light-years behind when it comes to how well it adapts to the global market. ”When Cyworld was at its peak, nobody had ever heard of Friendster, Myspace, Twitter, or Facebook,” he said. “That’s because they hadn’t been invented yet. When Facebook came along, Koreans used to describe it as the American Cyworld.” He argued that if Cyworld, established in 1999, hadn’t been so restrictive, it would be the dominant social networking site in the world, and nobody would have ever heard of “that Mark Zuckerberg guy.” [Yonhap]
Hwang also makes a good point about Naver as well:
Hwang believes that a Korean Internet exodus is inevitable not only for social networking sites, but also for blogs.
“At the moment, most Korean bloggers use Naver,” he said. Naver is widely considered the “Korean Google,” as it is Korea’s leading search engine that also offers multilingual dictionaries, blog hosting, and other similar services.
“Naver is very restrictive. Users can’t really customize their blogs if they use Naver. What’s more, most Naver blogs will only appear in the Naver search engine, which sorely limits the number of hits they can get,” said Hwang.>
You can read the rest of Hwang’s thoughts at the link to include how he thinks WordPress my blogging engine of choice is going to become the preeminent blogging software in Korea in the next two years.