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Tuenti, Spain's leading social network, switches on local for a location-based future

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Madrid-based Tuenti, sometimes called the Facebook of Spain, has been around for four years now. It’s a very well funded company that, despite a huge growth in user numbers and a number of product releases, has been getting some bad press on their lack of monetization and for not having a clear direction – though if you follow the product releases and the company’s hiring habits, there is a roadmap.

However Tuenti has now launched what it deems to be their most strategic move yet – tapping into their social graph to introduce location-based features. The launch is a beta, still lacking some oomph perhaps, but it’s interesting to pick over what they’ve done. Especially as everyone is expecting Facebook to do the same at some point.

The social network’s users have always been able to share places they identify with. Currently 3 million users have shared over 3,200 places. But the social network is now introducing Tuenti Places (reads “Tuenti Sitios” in Spanish) as a global feature, where the entire user-base is able to add any local place, interact with it, share it with friends, upload images and write reviews.

Unlike Facebook pages, Tuenti Places are…well…places (bars, clubs, restaurants) and once a place is uploaded, there will be no room for duplicates. Each place will have its own unique space for user interaction. Valuable data if you get tens of thousands of users interacting with that page.

It’s a very different strategy from the likes of Gowalla or Yelp or Foursquare or Spain’s 11870 who’ve built a community on top of local. Tuenti first built a massive and incredibly segmented community and now they’re introducing local, which in itself is social by nature, but they can build in local by crowdsourcing their 8 million active users who are already sharing places. “Other local social directories can crowdsource 1% of their user-base, whereas Tuenti can count on 100% user implication” says Product Manager Rags Vadali (ex-Google).

This is, potentially, a big deal. Why?

Well, it means a whole new direction for Tuenti that seemingly glues together all the pieces. They have massive amounts of highly dissected user data whose interaction is growing exponentially along with the needed mobile apps (both iPhone and Android). Overnight Tuenti promises to get thousands of very dynamic local business pages and will shortly introduce new features such as Foursquare-like check-ins. Plenty of nice ways to leverage and monetize highly segmented local interaction.

And yesterday Tuenti made the press with an unconfirmed 9 million euro capital increase, so they look like they have the cash to see it through too.

  • Ben Werdmuller

    Could be very interesting indeed, and raises a wider point about Facebook and similar global services: so far location has really been limited to specific tools like Foursquare. When will we start to see Facebook Places? As Foursquare are proving, there’s a genuine business model, which I would have thought many local venues will want to get in on.

  • Marfi

    Looks very interesting. I particularly like the part that there can be only one “place” this helps a lot and centralizes discussions etc.

  • Jaime

    This looks really interesting the direction they are attacking the Local market.

    Millions of existing connections between real social graph and real unduplicated places will be a massive headstart for these guys vs. the guys coming at it from the other direction.

  • Todd Bida

    Local businesses will each have their own unique space for user interaction…off that Tuenti should then be able to monetize awareness, trial, engagement, and loyalty tools. There is huge platform potential here for Tuenti: having already aggregated consumers, Tuenti now offers them and the businesses & brands they like (or might like) mechanisms to better interact.

  • Oh please

    What’s the penetration of Location Based Services abroad? Is it as pervasive as here?

  • Greg de Lima

    As a student doing my study abroad in Spain, I was encouraged to open up a Tuenti account, by invitation only (problem #1?).
    Next, being a user of Tuenti, and a strong social media marketing advocate, you notice their strategies. They have very few monetizing strategies. For those of you not on Tuenti, after logging in you get a gmail type loading bar, there’s usually an ad here (usually Pepsi or a Spanish company).
    Next their main ways after that are videos, that show up on screen (bottom right corner) which promote a company.
    Their third way is by Events. Tuenti events are like their groups, pages, and events mixed all into one. There fact that there are sponsored events by Tuenti is their main revenue stream (I’d assume), along with the main ads.
    This new location feature is phenomenal, being that one of the sections in the info part of your profile is “Zonas de Marcha”, where you go to party. This expands that section and gives people the opportunity to find new bars, clubs etc. etc.
    An entirely different type of location service. This benefits the locations, more than Tuenti in my opinion, though it could lead to more accurate advertising.
    Another problem is, consensus from my friends they don’t want Tuenti becoming like Facebook, with ads and applications, they prefer the simple social networking aspect.
    Hope that picks the brain a little more, form a users point of view.

  • Steven

    I am always in search of location based service on net.
    Thanks for sharing.
    I have created a location based search for theaters and movies near your area around the world just have a look.

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  • Sean Conorg

    TUENTI is on fire, man.. These Spaniards /American guys are showing the path to the rest of Europe and probably the world !!. I love Tuenti people.. and I love Tuenti concept. They are gonna make a huge business..

    Bang ! Bang ! TUENTI is shooting.. You´d better not be in the middle…

    •* Chantelle Ccolours

      Is it possible to get an invitation to join please? Thanks!!!

  • Sean Conorg


  • Tom

    Tuenti sucks! I’d be surprised if it’s around in 3 years time.

  • Sean Conorg

    Tom go back to Facebook..!!

    We know who you are, mate !

  • Sean Conorg

    Bang ! Bang !! Tuenti is on fire !!

  • Javi

    The great value of Tuenti and what Facebook will never have is that they have a special focus on their local market. Tuenti is a generation trend and its users are growing up and maturing along with the service.

    I don’t see them trying to expand to other countries, they’ll stick with Spain. Tuenti is here to stay for a long time.

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  • Jade

    Anyone know how to get an invite to Tuenti…I would love to join.

    • DCZaragoza

      tell me your email address and i’ll invite you :)

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