Type of site
|Social networking service|
|Owner||The Meet Group|
|Launched||June 27, 2004|
Users can create a profile and provide personal information including interests, age, photos, and hometown. Users can also send friend requests via e-mail to other users. When a person receives a friend request, he may accept or decline it, or block the user altogether. If the user accepts another user as a friend, the two will be connected directly or in the 1st degree. The user will then appear on the person's contact list and vice versa. Some users opt to make their profiles available for everyone on hi5 to view. Other users exercise the option to make their profile viewable only to those people who are in their network.
In a 2009 redesign, hi5 added features oriented toward gaming and entertainment. The site featured over 200 games in a variety of genres, and was adding games at a rate of 2-3 per week. It is targeted to users that are interested in flirting, dating, and making new friends. In order to join hi5, users must be age 18 or older. Due to hi5's shift in focus to social gaming, comScore reclassified hi5 as an online gaming site in early 2011. According to comScore, hi5 ranked as the 6th most trafficked online gaming site.
The company was founded in 2003 by Ramu Yalamanchi.
It was profitable in its first year.
Prior to 2004, the company had raised $250,000 from angel investors.
In 2008, comScore reported that hi5 was the third most popular social networking service in monthly unique visitors behind Facebook and MySpace. It was also the fastest growing social network. However, international growth of Facebook later hurt hi5. It was most popular in Latin America.
The company had gained significant market share in Europe, Latin America, and Asia, and Mary Meeker had cited hi5 as the 10th largest site in the World in her 2007 Technology / Internet Trends report.
In early 2010, hi5 acquired social gaming company Big Six.
In 2010, it announced it had raised $3 million convertible note from existing investor Mohr Davidow, bringing the funding up to $38 million.
In October 2010, hi5 announced Sociopath, a set of developer tools designed to make it easier for developers to bring their game to the hi5 platform. A major part of the program was the implementation of Facebook compatible APIs, which simplified the process of bringing games already developed for Facebook to hi5. Sociopath also introduced anonymous play to the site, making it easier for gamers to play games immediately without first having to provide registration info. Sociopath was initially introduced at GDC Online in 2010.
Software-industry veteran Karen Richardson served as chairman of the company's board in 2011.
As a companion to Sociopath, hi5 introduced Sociopay in early 2011. Sociopay was intended to help hi5 to better monetize users, increasing revenues for themselves and developers. Sociopay automatically adjusts the prices for hi5 coins based upon a user's region, capitalizing on hi5's international success and helping to monetize users from many different economies. Sociopay also helps monetize users less likely to purchase coins by instead serving them advertisements.
With Tagged's acquisition of hi5, the gaming platform changed from third-party developed games to games developed by Tagged's in-house team. Tagged noted that hi5's games weren't as "vibrant" as they could be.
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