After releasing a new beta version with layout similar to common social networking service and feature resembles web IM, Sina Weibo is still at it. According to people familiar with the matter, the most popular microblogging service is internally testing a new feature dubbed “micro account” (微号) with an aim to launch soon.

So what is going on with micro account? In a nutshell, we can refer Micro account to QQ account. Sina Weibo will assign everyone of its users a numeric account such as Weibo.com/123456. At present we sign into Weibo with email address, with the to-be-launched new feature, we can use a bunch of numbers to log in.

The feature should be accessible via http://hao.weibo.com upon launch.

 

Why Numbers?

For those who’re confused about the move, let’s talk about Tencent first.

It’s known to all that Tencent builds an empire on QQ IM client, as Alibaba & Taobao base their premise on buyers and seller, or Shanda counts on online gaming, the list can goes on and on.

As Tencent literally builds everything on QQ IM, QQ account has long been deemed as Chinese people’s online identity number. I guess that explains why Sina Weibo dare challenge the common practice of social media in which services like facebook, Twitter, Tumblr are making every effort to simplify their offerings for intuitive user experience to experiment with the micro account feature, Sina Weibo truly wants every users to have a numeric Weibo account that can also be considered as their online identity.

Any chance that gonna happen?

 

Don’t Even Think About It.

Sina has always been leaning (only) on its news platform, until the unveil of Weibo which gives rise to the online portal’s social media value. Traditionally Sina’s business is neither as diversified nor as profitable as other internet giants. Online news is all that it counts on for over a decade. Now with the sensational success of Sina Weibo, it’s no surprise that Sina Weibo has been trying so hard to build and build, incorporate and incorporate everything into the service.

With the launch with the three-column layout new Weibo, people are already speculating Sina is doing a Facebook on the premise of Weibo, now with the micro account, Sina is again doing a Tencent/QQ on Weibo?

It’s understandable that the long-established portal wants it so bad. But social media and IM (or web IM) are basically different species. Tencent is still staggering on its long march to compete with Weibo even with huge edge of user base and IM client support whereas Sina Weibo will also fail to catch up with QQ in terms of IM service.

From Technical Perspective

Twitter, Tumblr and numerous other social media services are born with profile page URL customization feature, Facebook added this later on. While in China, Renren also supports customization of profile page.

The point of URL customization is, we can make the web semantically by doing so. Tell me which URL is more acceptable to you and to search engine?

weibo.com/technode

weibo.com/123456

twitter.com/technodechina

twitter.com/123456

The first group is easier to understand, while the control group means nothing. That’s the beauty of semantic web, a direction that I believe most internet companies as well as social media giants are moving towards. Unexaggeratedly speaking, semantic to social media is like water to fish or contents to Sina. A clear, self-expressive product or service is at the core of a better internet and a better social media graph. And no matter how hard you want to compete with someone, never lose your current ground to your competitors.