MANILA, Philippines — As it endeavors to become one of the biggest e-Commerce platforms in the Philippines, erstwhile social networking platform Multiply is ridding itself of all social features by December.
This means the myriad of blogs, photos, music, and videos uploaded by thousands of Multiply users since 2004 will be deleted in four months’ time, according to the company’s new CEO.
“We have decided to discontinue providing and hosting these services, as we have concluded that other Internet sites who are committed to social networking services will do a better job serving you than we can,” wrote Stefan Magdalinski, Multiply’s newly appointed CEO, in a blog post entitled “We are sorry.”
Magdalinski said they will be providing means for users to either download or migrate their content to other platforms, but refused to disclose anything specific as of posting time.
Current e-Commerce users of the site, he added, would not need to do anything as their content will be retained during the transition.
The Multiply CEO said they would also be refunding unused balance for users who upgraded to Multiply Premium, an exclusive subscription the site launched a few years back that gave users more unique features than free users.
He said the decision to rid the site of social features was a difficult one, but that it was something that is “critical to our to success moving forward.”
“Our singular focus now is for Multiply to retain its status as a vibrant e-commerce destination in Southeast Asia in the years ahead,” Magdalinski stressed.
A few months back, Multiply executives already gave a foreshadowing of this recent development, announcing that it will be “overhauling” its current platform to make it more e-Commerce-friendly.
“We are aiming to have the new site relaunched in time for the Christmas period,” Magdalinski said in an earlier interview. “In the new platform, we will probably mandate certain styles of user experience, but we will also encourage shop owners to check out systems that work.”
Multiply is now the second online service to abandon its social networking past to pursue other emerging online trends.
Last year, Friendster, which used to be the top social networking site in the Philippines, closed its doors to users as it transformed into a social gaming hub similar to Zynga.
Pre-dating the boom of Facebook and Twitter, Multiply had taken a turn in recent years due mainly to the unique way it has been used by users specifically in the Southeast Asian region.
Owing to this unique usage pattern by its Southeast Asian users, the company decided to shift its strategy and focus by becoming an easy-to-use e-commerce platform following its acquisition by Naspers in 2010.
To date, Multiply has approximately 5.5 million users in the Philippines, about 130,000 of which are online store fronts carrying items from as much as 16 product categories, the most popular of which are consumer electronics, women’s apparel and baby supplies.
It recently moved its headquarters to Jakarta, Indonesia and appointed Magdalinski as its new CEO as it literally shifts its focus to e-Commerce markets in the Southeast Asian region.
In the Philippines, Multiply — through its head, Madrid — is one of those leading the charge toward greater growth for e-commerce in the country, which as of late remains at its nascent stages.
A competing platform, Sulit.com.ph, is also owned by Naspers. The two Philippine-based e-Commerce sites are part of the newly established Digital Commerce Association of the Philippines (DCOM), which seeks to promote the use of online commerce in the country.