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Badoo goes beyond 'poking'

posted 17 May 2011, 08:12 by Sam Mbale
The London-based social network Badoo says its most active global market is Brazil where it has more than 8 mllion monthly users and that global growth will be fueled through mobile services.
BRAZIL-BADOO - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is not short of picturesque meeting spots.

However, 22-year-old student Caino Ferreira is looking to meet new people through the social network Badoo.

He says he prefers it to Facebook.

Caino Ferreira, Badoo user, saying

"The fact that you can visit someone's profile provides a degree of freedom.. It's more casual than, for example, poking someone like people do on Facebook. I think that poking is more invasive than just visiting. If a person likes you, she can visit your profile and show that she is interested."

Ferreira is one of over 8 million monthly active Badoo users in Brazil, making it the social network's most successful market.

Badoo was started in Spain back in 2006 by the Russian serial entrepreneur Andrey Andreev.

 Andrey Andreev, Badoo Founder and CEO, saying:

"Badoo is about find adventure nearby. Find new friends. Find new people. And you can do this regularly, everyday."

The company is now based in London where it's just relocated into bigger offices.

Chief Operating Officer Bart Swanson worked with the internet retailer Amazon when it expanded beyond the U.S. He explains why he decided to join Badoo back in September.

Bart Swanson, Badoo Chief Operating Officer saying

"I hadn't seen a company with such rapid growth since, literally, my days at Amazon. The other side of it is - I think Andrey has...we've developed a user experience which is phenomenal. It's elegant. It's simple. It's fun and it works. And a don't think there's another company around which is addressing the market and resolving a base human need as well as Badoo is."

Badoo says it has 117 million users globally.

A recent profile in the UK version of Wired magazine has helped build awareness of Badoo in Britain, but it's still a minor player here and the U.S.

Andreev also sees big opportunities in pocket-size devices. This is Badoo's new iPhone app.

Andrey Andreev, Founder and CEO of Badoo saying

"So for example imagine you're in a busy place like a nightclub and you can instantly see all of the people who are in the same place. You can click on a person, check the pictures and you can chat. It's easy. Check the person - interesting? good-looking? Chat - then set up a meeting, around the corner or inside the bar."

If a potential new acquaintance agrees to share their whereabouts, a Google map pops up to show just where to find them.

 Bart Swanson, Badoo Chief Operating Officer saying

"What Badoo is doing is we're revolutionizing the way people meet."

And whereas dating sites tend to lose customers once their service proves a success, Badoo emphasizes 'encounters' - as in close encounters of an unpredictable kind.

Matt Cowan, Reuters

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