Sina Weibo, the de facto King of Chinese social networking has been keeping itself quite busy with either launching new services to monetize the offering or tweaking it along the way to make it stickier.
Just two days ago, Weibo launched the long-rumored membership service, charging users RMB 10 per month to provide them with services include – fancier homepage customization, benefit to follow more than 2000 people as well as audio posts. Prior to the offering, Weibo debuted a ranking system, users can grow from Level 1 to Level 20 by staying online for at least 2 hours per day, sounds exactly like Tencent’s offering in engaging users. Both membership service and ranking system are what Tencent’s is good with. Shenzhen-based Tencent is the first one of its kind in China to devise such offerings that eventually were turned into big profit and user stickiness.
weibo membership privileges
Inspired by Tencent, Weibo also launched it’s MicroNumber (微号）service that users can register special number combination for their weibo for a fee. For example, one’s own birthday.
And yesterday, people found that in Weibo’s latest Android app, s feature called “Smart Sorting” was founded in its drop-down menu located at the top of it. Pictured below.
According to Sina, the algorithm behind the filtering mechanism lies on “who you’ve followed/tags/weibo posts” and so on.
With Sina’s portal business declining, Sina Weibo now is under a lot of pressure to monetize itself, especially with an expected US$ 164 million investment into the service in this year. As of the first quarter of this year, Sina Weibo claims more than 324 million registered users.