In North America, photo curation platforms like Tumblr, Pinterest, and Fancy has achieved dramatic growth in the past few years. Here in Japan we have a similar list concept called ‘Matome’, which roughly translates as ‘collecting information’. Blogs that collect and edit threads from 2channel, Japan’s biggest message board, and Naver Matome, a popular curation platform, are attracting lots of traffic. Such curated media are moving into more verticals recently, focusing on specific themes. Increased use of smartphones seems to be driving this trend as well.
Another curation-focused media service that just recently launched is Iemo. It’s an online lifestyle site that specializes in interior decoration and housing. Iemo’s CEO, Mari Murata, is a female serial entrepreneur, previously one of the first hires by Japanese internet giant CyberAgent.
The service is very simple. The users can create pages using interior design images from its database of 15,000 pictures. Upon the service’s release, there were about 2000 pages are already listed on the site. I expect that there are many users who check the site with their smartphones during their spare time.
Iemo was modeled after US-based Houzz, which attracts around 16 million users per month. Murata said that the images in their database are borrowed from over 20 housing businesses, but users can add their own images as well.
My initial impression of the site was that it was pretty sophisticated, likely due to the founder’s past experiences in startups. Another Japanese competitor in the field, RoomClip reached 100,000 posts last September.
Considering the user shift to smartphones, it might be a good time to launch this kind of photo curation service now. I think we will see more similar media focused on other themes in the near future.