Tuenti gives Spain's search giants and social networks a fright

[Spain] A few weeks back, I met with Ícaro Moyano, in Tuenti’s Euro-chic offices – free drinks, comfy sofas, and game room included. I had just had lunch with a friend, who doesn’t have a lot of knowledge about the Web. However, as I mentioned Tuenti in passing, she lit up. “Oh, Tuenti? I know Tuenti. My daughter spends hours online on Tuenti”.  Her daughter is 15 and Tuenti is without a doubt, the social network on the tip of every Spanish youth’s tongue. If you’re 15-25 in Spain, you and you’re social life reside and play in Tuenti. Facebook is for the slightly older crowd (sorry Mark!).

Tuenti is a Spanish grown start-up that’s seen exponential growth. Note I haven’t said successful. I believe they have yet to reach that point.  But they appear to be on their way.

Interestingly, Tuenti tells me that they have hardly been mentioned in the English-language international press. But that may not last.

Last August, Comscore reported a change in the numbers, and Tuenti surpassed Google and Facebook combined in pageviews (not unique visitors, of course) in Spain. Here’s the run-down:

Property Total Pages Viewed (MM)
9 Total Internet : Total Audience 42,124
10 TUENTI.COM 7,648
11 Google Sites 5,764
12 Microsoft Sites 2,691
14 SCHIBSTED Group 587
15 Yahoo! Sites 488
16 Grupo Prisa 398
17 BADOO.COM 389
18 RCS Media Group 345
19 Hi-Media Group 306
20 eBay 298
21 Terra – Telefonica 294
22 Batanga 259
23 Vocento 207
24 HI5.COM 199

Critics have been very skeptical of Tuenti’s lack of direction in terms of a business model, but Tuenti seems to have stepped up to the challenge.  Their monetization is based on advertising of course, currently with two major models: sponsored events and full page ad on login, with the likes of Coca-Cola for instance.

Recently, Tuenti began signing on star professionals to bring in meaning, strategy and further direction to the company.  Koro Castellano, previously the Managing Director of Unidad Editorial (a local media giant) is now Tuenti’s own Managing Director.  Sean Kean, ex. Vice President Mobile at AOL People and ex. Head of Mobile at Bebo, will work on growing Tuenti’s mobile presence and strategy as Vice President. They are counting on reaching 40% of traffic in mobile vs. web platform within 2 years.