Outside of Korea, you may not have heard of Naver. Inside Korea, it dominates the internet. Seventy percent of it. It’s like Google–but evil.
A recent article came out on how Naver’s business model is not to acquire innovative start-ups but to blatantly copy their innovations. Also, unlike Google, in order to get higher in search results you need to pay money.
I know that Korean language bloggers usually don’t read this blog, but a few do. I personally read a ton of Korean language food blogs daily. My subway commute is long. But I’ve grown so frustrated with Naver blogs that I’ve eliminated them from my feeds. Here’s why.
First, a few examples.
Pat2Bach (one of Korea’s biggest food bloggers)
Naver blogs are ugly
Don’t they have templates or anything to make them look unique? They all look like hacked-together AOL pages from the 1990s. Maybe a header gets put up there, but that’s it. It’s just blocks of text with pictures.
Naver blogs lock down text
I don’t know if this is automatic or that all the users opt for this. Since copying is widespread–as in I see the exact same blog post on four different blogs at times–all Naver blogs I’ve looked at have locked down their text. You can’t highlight and copy any of the test. The stupid thing is that it doesn’t deter copying from the determined. But it makes it difficult for food blogs writing about restaurants because you can’t copy and paste the restaurant’s address to your mapping app. You have to depend on the postage stamp sized Naver map–when the blogger bothers to add it. You can’t copy and paste it into a translator, and Google Translate just shrugs and gives up when trying to translate the page.
[UPDATE: I found a Naver food blog without locked down text and pics. Yes, we found the smartest blogger on Naver!]
Naver blogs don’t work with social media
Back to the locking down thing. The pictures are locked down too. That means that when you post on Facebook, no nifty thumbnail goes with it. If you want to post on Pinterest, forget it. It’s impossible. Tumblr? Nope. So if I find a really cool restaurant or recipe, I can’t share it on Pinterest or Tumblr. And it looks incomplete when I post it on Facebook. Naver is living in its 1997 bubble. The outside world doesn’t exist. Only the Korean snowglobe.
Sadly, the only advantage to having a blog on Naver is that it helps you on the skewed Naver search results. Other than that, using Naver as a blogging platform shows lazy thinking and flippant attitudes towards readers. They’re aimed at Korean audiences, but they’re even difficult for Korean readers to use. There are many better blogging platforms in Korea. Even Daum’s is better–well, because it bought Tistory, which was a good innovative homegrown service. And WordPress has been thoroughly translated into Korean.