Japanese curation site Naver Matome boasts 41 million users, cures information overload



This is part of our ‘Japanese internet in-depth’ series (RSS). Stay tuned for more features that aim to explain what makes the internet unique in Japan.

Naver Matome is a very simple curation platform that launched back in July of 2009. To date it has accumulated over 41 million users and over 1.2 billion page views per month. The platform is now operated by NHN Japan (perhaps best known as the company behind the Line chat app) after a merger with Naver in November of 2011.

On the site, users are able to create pages that bundle images, links, and videos under a topic of their choice, ranging from dieting, to politics, to web services. There are many reasons behind the platform’s sucess including its friendly user interface, the wide genre of topics curated, compatibility with different social networks (especially Twitter), and strong SEO for both Yahoo and Google with 70% of its traffic coming from the two search engines.

Curated cosplay on Matome

But above all, Naver Matome helps users overcome information overflow. This is especially true for the younger generation, which is Naver Matome’s biggest user segment 1. Many young people have never subscribed to newspapers, and for this reason Japan’s Nikkei, one of the country’s largest newspapers, has partnered with NHN to allow the use of texts (up to 200 characters) and images from the digital version of the newspaper in the hopes of attracting younger readers.

The total number of Matome pages now exceeds half a million. But what is the motivation for users to create these pages? Many users do it to earn pocket money. In November of 2010, Naver Matome began an incentive program, where some very popular Matome users with around half a million page views per month could receive payments as high as a few hundered thousand dollars.

Narumi is an example of popular curator with over 2.3 million monthly page views. Some topics he has created include:

Some curators specialize in tech, others in sports. Many of the curated topics are in fact very interesting and inspirational, although there are also many meant to be simply light or humorous.

Sometimes old articles from my personal blog get retweeted, and it’s likely that Naver Matome is contributing to that. The curators on the platform are great hunters of information, assisting others who may have difficulty finding relevant content. I hope that in the future traditional media can find a way to cooperate with Naver Matome and take advantage of the curation platform rather than seeing it as a threat or potential copyright violation, as some currently do.

Naver Matome is a unique corner of the Japanese net, and if you can read Japanese, you’re sure to find something you like over there. Enjoy!

  1. The 20 to 29 demographic accounts for 34% of users, and 15 to 19 makes up 16%