Definitions

WAYN (website)

WAYN (website)

WAYN (an acronym for Where Are You Now?) is a social networking website with a goal to unite travellers from around the world. WAYN has top 1000 in Alexa Internet traffic ranking and was launched in May 2003 after two of its founders came up with the idea to connect people based on their location whilst having a few beers in their local pub. It grew from 45,000 to 4.1 million members in one year (to April 2006) and now has over 11 million members .

Features

As with many other social networking sites, WAYN enables its users to create a profile and upload photos. Users can then search for others, and link them to their profiles as friends. If you register it is possible to send and receive messages using email, discussion forums, eCards, SMS and WAYN instant messaging (web client, no downloads required).

WAYN has spread rapidly thanks to an innovative idea which consists of enabling users to find old friends and make new friends based on their whereabouts. This has now been widely adopted across other services, notably the extremely popular 'Where I've Been' application available on Facebook.

A user can locate visually where each of their contacts is situated around the world. The service is thus intended to be used for its members to keep friends informed of where they are whilst travelling but also for people to find out who is coming to visit their location from elsewhere. Members can find out more about a destination they wish to visit, finding another member online from that destination and getting a first hand summary of what to do, what to see and what to consider when visiting, and they can also find out which friends have already visited a certain destination so they can get quick tips when planning a new trip

Members donate points and receive points for adding well rated content to the site. Points equal a ranking on the site for members in a WAYN league.

New in 2007

  • Travel Guide - access to restaurants, bars, clubs, hotels, hostels, events and flights. Members can browse and book elements of their trip. Not all services are yet expanded beyond the UK.
  • Club - WAYN is involved with a number of Global campaigns which it launches from its club section. Most recently was a campaign to educate members as to ho they can help reduce their Global Warming impact. Over 600,000 pledge were made to reduce Carbon Footprint through 12 varying steps.
  • WAYN Desktop - an in-house downloadable application which allows users to search for images and upload and organize photos onto their profiles and into folders. WAYN Desktop also allows users to receive account alerts so they do not have to remain logged into the site. This tool is free to use, however only Windows platform is currently supported.

New in 2008

  • Insurance – WAYN has recently been recognized is now an accredited provider for Insurance in the UK. Paying members can redeem free insurance, and non-paying members can purchase it at what WAYN are guaranteeing is a very competitive market rate.
  • Mobile Translator – A speaking translator members can download to their mobile phones consisting of 17 languages and 272 different language combinations to help users communicate whilst on their trips.

History

WAYN was founded in 2002 in London and was presented to the public in May 2003 having secured financial backing from Stephen Pankhurst, the founder of the well known UK school reunion site Friends Reunited, which recently sold to ITV for £120M (plus £55M earn-out).

WAYN initially grew through word-of-mouth and reached almost 50,000 members by the end of 2004. Following its relaunch in May 2005 it grew exponentially, reaching over 2.5M members by the end of 2005. On 21 June 2007 the site claimed "over 8m members"

WAYN is also one of the very few sites which didn't lose the impact of new subscriptions after introducing fees for taking advantage of the full membership service September 2004, making it one of the few premium social networking communities that managed to become profitable.

WAYN secured $11m Series A funding from ECP (Esprit Capital Partners) last November (2006) and secured Brent Hoberman, ex CEO and Founder of Lastminute.com - Esprit Capital Partners, a firm formed from the recent merger of Cazenove Private Equity and Prelude Ventures, has put up most of the investment funding for WAYN. Others investing with Hoberman include the founders of some of Britain’s most successful online businesses: David Soskin and Hugo Burge of Cheapflights and HOWZAT media LLP; Adrian Critchlow and Andy Phillips of Active Hotels (which was sold in 2004), and Constant Tedder of Jagex, an online games company. Unusually for a venture-capital investment, Esprit has allowed Ward and his co-founders, Jerome Touze and Mike Lines, to cash in some of their shares.

In January 2008 the gossip appeared that WAYN might be bought by AOL for $200m, however this had been demented very quickly.

Popularity

Though not as popular as MySpace in the United States, WAYN.com has grown into a global brand. While WAYN.com is not aimed at a particular age group, it is an over-18s only site, and is most popular with the 18 to 25s and 35 to 45+.

WAYN is very popular in the UK where it has over 2 million members . It is also strong in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and other countries in Western Europe, including the Netherlands. In all, WAYN has members from 220 different countries creating a strong global network and has been featured across the national press in Great Britain as one of the Internet Phenomenons of the year.

WAYN now has over 12 million members and is growing by up to 20,000 members daily. It was voted most popular community in the 2007 Website of the Year awards.

Criticism

When a user signs up for the WAYN service, they are given the option to import contacts from an online address book (such as Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL and Gmail) by providing their username and password. in order to invite those contacts to join WAYN. However, as with all social networks, this function has been criticised by some users who feel that it is difficult to unsubscribe from "invitation reminders" which then invariably follow.. Some people have considered these invitations as spam.

In addition, when registering to WAYN the option to "Skip this step" for importing friends can be easily overlooked, making some users believe that importing addresses is a requirement rather than an option. A new layout of the WAYN site in April 2007 with enhanced privacy functionalities attempts to combat criticism of this common problem also providing users with a more intuitive navigation throughout the registration process.

WAYN additionally censors messages sent between users to encourage communication through the site. This is allegedly to ensure that users are protected by the WAYN site policies whilst interacting with other members. However, it also makes it difficult for users to communicate other than through the WAYN message system thereby keeping traffic on site. Any reference to an e-mail address, or popular networking website will be filtered, although users have found ways to get around this eg. deliberate incorrect spelling of mail addresses. Opening up of interaction on the site in June 2007 now allows members unlimited messaging thereby reducing need to evade the WAYN filtering.

See also

References

External links

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