WAYN's next strategy? Copy Dopplr

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Ning: 1 Million Social Networks Strong

UK-based social-networking site WAYN is one of the oldest startups around. It’s so old it even copied Friends Reunited’s subscription model back in the day before it’s VCs convinced it to go free. But it in the Age of Facebook, it’s losing momentum. Google Trends shows visits to the site are in the midst of an historical downturn, so the founders must come up some new tricks. And fast.

So what are they going to do? Copy Dopplr.

Ok, that’s the short story. The longer story is that allowing its 15 million members to share their future plans – “intention broadcasting” as it’s known in the trade – will create much better data and key words upon which to base its advertising story to its numerous travel partners.

This makes sense. If we know someone is “Up for… Partying in Paris next weekend” we can deliver a decently targeted ad on that basis. Knowing what people have already done is all well and good, as the site does now, but they have already spent the money getting there.

So in fact this is not so much as copying Dopplr – which made it’s name by allowing us to tell everyone which city we’d be flying into soon – as much as it is copying (whether WAYN knows it or not) a less well known Finnish startup called Zipiko.

WAYN’s ‘Plans’ is the new broadcasting feature. Zipiko calls it ‘Plans’ too. The trouble is, Zipiko has very few members, so more people will have heard of WAYN’s Plans shortly, than Zipiko’s Plans.

So WAYN’s relaunch will not be Where Are You Now? so much as WWYB (Where Will You Be?).

However, changing the WAYN name wouldn’t work so they are changing the logo and interface instead.

“We know that based on where we are now we will not get to the next stage of our evolutionary growth without drastic change,” admits co-founder Jerome Touze told the Telegraph in an upbeat story yesterday. True enough. The site was looking damn tired anyway. So here’s the new version, soon to launch:

Part of the new plan is also integration with Facebook Connect and Twitter. That’s going to add a Web 2.0 social element which the site was severely lacking. But it’s unlikely they can really capture that Dopplr juice which has brought that latter site such devotees. And there appears to be no mention of Tripit-style features like emailing your flight confirmation to the site. Perhaps that’s in the future?

  • Laurent Etienne D

    Interesting analysis Mike – especially given Dopplr came up with the idea of meeting people based on where you going next a few years AFTER WAYN Launched – so who copied who I think you got your story a little mixed up.

  • Carla Davidson

    This is a great new move for WAYN – well done to them for being bold and daring. Strongly disagree with the copying comment though – If anything, surely it should be the other way around? Dopplr and many other followers saw what WAYN was doing and tried to improve upon it – but I agree that the interface had to change as found it hard to use – from those images here, it looks like they have done a great job simplifying it

  • Jules Morgan

    OT : Comments are disabled for Geek ‘n Rolla post

    • Jules Morgan

      Ignore that

  • http://www.tourcms.com/blog/alexbainbridge/ Alex Bainbridge

    Last year I wrote a blog post comparing WAYN and Dopplr.

    I got some grief for saying they were similar. Indeed Mike even left a comment on my blog saying comparing WAYN and Dopplr is “like comparing chalk and cheese”


    I am sure I was right all along :)

    As for Dopplr – they have to watch out for TripIt – who are making great inroads into data sharing for itineraries – so a Dopplr clone could be built on top of TripIt fairly easily

    • Jules Morgan

      Oh snap!

  • Carla Davidson

    What a great comment Alex – you are spot on.
    Mike clearly hasnt done his research. But interesting that Mike contradicts himself quite a few times.

  • http://www.scred.com/ Kristoffer Lawson

    I wonder how well the comparison with Zipiko works. Yes, they do “intention broadcasting”, which is interesting, but their plans are relatively short term things like “Going to WirCool Night Club tonight, coming?”, whereas I imagine WAYN’s to be more about longer trips.

  • http://uk.techcrunch.com Mike Butcher

    What a load of horse shit comments. Dopplr did not copy WAYN for pete’s sake. WAYN was never – until now – about intention broadcasting. It was an old fashioned social network for kids on their gap year. Don’t get me wrong – I like their new move. And I say it makes sense. And besides, if Dopplr was copying WAYN its numbers would be going down too, but the opposite is the case – their model is and was always different. I think the Zipiko comparison stands, even though it is shorter time periods – in fact that may be their downfall, since WAYN’s internion broadcasting is designed to be over a longer stretch into the future – where I am going on holiday next etc.

    • http://www.tourcms.com/blog/alexbainbridge/ Alex Bainbridge

      Hi Mike

      I have no idea which comments you don’t particularly like…. but if you are referring to my one…. then this is what Jerome tweeted me after I commented:

      @alexbainbridge saw that actually – well said Alex

      Perhaps it was the ad hominem comments you didn’t like, which is understandable.

    • http://www.scred.com/ Kristoffer Lawson

      You’re right that the comparison is valid in the context of “intention broadcasting”, although I don’t think the services themselves compete. However, as you mention, intention broadcasting is an interesting twist on the twitter’s more “current” statuses. The point about it actually being more valuable in a business sense to use that information is particularly strong.

      I just felt that there might be the assumption that Zipiko and WAYN would be competing, which I don’t think is true (not to say which model is better).

  • http://uk.techcrunch.com Mike Butcher

    Ok, sorry, I should have said, I disagree with a lot of those comments, without descending into abuse! Apologies.

  • http://blog.mjelly.com james

    Im a bit surprised at this move to be honest – surely would have been better to go deeper into the travel vertical (loads of money there?) rather than become AN. Other social network

  • http://www.twitter.com/JonathanDeamer Jonathan

    Whatever new features WAYN implement, it’ll take a lot for me to trust them with my personal data. 3-4 years ago, a friend gave them my e-mail address to “invite” me to the service. I have received frequent, annoying, verging on spammy e-mails ever since trying to get me to sign up to them, despite me asking not to receive further messages.

    This is well documented on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wayn#Criticism

  • Paul
  • Laurent Etienne D

    They are all working on the same basis but to be fair – I haven’t received emails from them for a long time and read that they in fact reviewed their email policy drastically and I can notice the improvements personally. As for the new interface, it looks much cleaner – lets give it a chance – would be curious to see when its live.

  • Jerome Touze

    Hi Mike, I thought I would add a quick comment – I have also sent you an email to provide you with more factual points as the points you have included in your post are unfortunately not accurate. I have, for your benefit, also included more stats in that email to back my arguments. I hope these were of help and we would appreciate it if you would at the very least acknowledge these points in reference to your article.

    Kind Regards

    Co Founder of WAYN.com

  • Sarah Burton

    Having the Telegraph article, WAYN is launching events on micro format it would seem so based on user intent – nothing to do with what Dopplr does? As for the trips side, WAYN being doing the where next part for a long time i think, way before any other travel communities in fact so i would agree with comments on here that if anything, others followed what WAYN introduced – my 2 pence worth – looking fwd to seeing the new WAYN though – does someone know when its due?

  • http://hotelenred.wordpress.com/2009/04/16/el-turista-informa/ El turista informa « hotelenred

    […] final  también publica e informa  en la red el lugar o destino al cual va a viajar, ¿como? (lo anuncia wayn y ya lo hace Dopplr ) , tambien en twitter o facebook entre otros sitios, esto puede ser una […]

  • http://www.zipipop.com Richard von Kaufmann

    I’m not so bothered about who is doing what. Near future social intention broadcasting is a tricky nut to crack and I wish all involved the best of luck. So to help out I have just added my Model for Computer-mediated Intention Sharing and Coordinating” to our Zipi Theory blog:


    Intention broadcasting was coined at Zipipop and I recently created the model for my MA thesis at Media Lab Helsinki. I have submitted a paper about it to the iSemantic Web conference, so can’t publish it yet, but for those interested I could send you a copy. But in the mean time, I have also added a video introduction on the subject. It is currently 12 mins, so I might have to cut it down, but would love your feedback.

  • http://www.joobili.com Jared Salter

    All this talk of who is copying whom makes me laugh. We’re all building (and borrowing) on each others ideas. Zipipop: you man have coined the term “intention broadcasting” but back in 2006 I worked with a startup in LA called circleup.com that preceded many of your intention-based “innovations”. We all have our unique angles, but I believe there is not such thing as a 100% original idea. Claiming that WAYN is “copying” Dopplr is over-simplifying things in my opinion.

  • Glenn Hall

    Seems surprising no mention of Tripit, http://www.tripit.com/ and it’s embodiment ‘inside’ LinkedIn. Not to mention the iPhone app.
    Maybe Business users are a different kind of [social] community.

  • http://clan-destinos.com/2009/04/29/%c2%bfdonde-estas-o-%c2%bfdonde-estaras/ ¿Dónde estás? o ¿dónde estarás? « Clan-destinos

    […] en esta red, el concepto se parece mucho al que ofrece el conocido Dopplr, como bien indican algunos a modo de crítica. La ventaja de WAYN es el volumen de usuarios, que puede hacerle ganar adeptos […]

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    […] en esta red, el concepto se parece mucho al que ofrece el conocido Dopplr, como bien indican algunos a modo de crítica. La ventaja de WAYN es el volumen de usuarios, que puede hacerle ganar adeptos […]

  • http://founders.wayn.com/2009/the-new-wayn-is-coming/ The New WAYN is coming… | WAYN Founders Blog

    […] As you can see – it is pretty big! Let’s hope that the new release proves to be as big We are also featured on the front page of Travolution, which is one of the leading online media sources in Europe for the travel industry, with a full blog article written by Kevin May, which you can read here. Both articles have created a stir, but perhaps the most recent one added by Mike Butcher from TechCrunch UK, is getting most people talking, and that, is in part, we feel, because it does, in our mind, innaccurately compare us to trying to copy Dopplr with our new focus. Thankfully, some respectable bloggers made a point of countering the view made, and whether it was a kick in the nuts from Mike for not buying him a beer at the last entrepreneurial shindig, or because he didnt get his teeth into the story early enough (try catching him when he is on a week long bender in San Fran with the webmission crew!) is left for you to determine. In all fairness, we didnt have a proper chance to talk with Mike about it and he made is own conclusions based on the screenshots, which we provided to him before anyone else. We like Mike, so dont get us wrong, so I am sure we will kiss and make up over a pint of beer soon, but hopefully in future, he will check the facts before going pressing the “publish” button To read the article in full, click here. […]

  • http://eu.techcrunch.com/2011/06/16/wayns-pivot-pays-off-as-traffic-triples-can-european-networks-thrive-against-facebook/ WAYN’s pivot pays off as traffic triples – can European networks thrive against Facebook?

    […] in 2009 they hit 15 million members and introduced a new feature allowing member sot share their future plans […]

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    […] in 2009 they hit 15 million members and introduced a new feature allowing member sot share their future plans […]

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    […] in 2009 they hit 15 million members and introduced a new feature allowing member sot share their future plans […]

  • http://www.maplewoodlocal.com/wayn%e2%80%99s-pivot-pays-off-as-traffic-triples-%e2%80%93-can-euro-networks-thrive-against-facebook/ WAYN’s Pivot Pays Off As Traffic Triples – Can Euro Networks Thrive Against Facebook? | Maplewood Local News

    […] in 2009 they hit 15 million members and introduced a new feature allowing member sot share their future plans […]

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