Cooeey signals new online communities

A new online community Web site that features mobile compatibility and virtual customisation has been introduced to the world with an Australia-only launch.

Australian operated Cooeey's self-titled community Web site features an amalgamation of personal communication tools such as blogging, photo albums, avatar customisation, streaming music and virtual personalisation.

Much like MySpace, users can create personalised Web pages with content ranging from photos to music. Where the service differs though, is the user's ability to create a virtual representation of themselves and their interests that permeates across the sites' other features.

Development of the site started in March 2005 after securing investment from Oniontech, a South Korean wireless technology developer. Cooeey was established shortly after in April 2005.

Cooeey sales and marketing director, Ed Schmidt, said Australia's multicultural society, quick adoption rate of new technologies and good sample size, made it the perfect location for the site's launch.

"Multicultural is the spirit of our company and the spirit of our product," he said. "Our aim is to deliver a truly open global community that delivers content for our users to share based on interest and locales."

Despite the site's distinct Australian name and flavour, Schmidt believed the product would fare well overseas. He said the site had already attracted a growing community of international users from both the UK and US. Localised versions of the site would be launched for Europe and US within the next 12 months.

Cooeey's flagship service on the site, MyPage, is a blogging tool that features virtual customisation of personal avatars. Users can create their own virtual room replete with furnishings and items purchased at Cooeey's MyMall.

Although all tools on the site are completely free, MyMall has both free and purchasable content for users' virtual customisation. Schmidt said it would be possible to deck out a virtual room for about $5 to $6.

"Cooeey is unique because it gives control to the user and lets them draw on their own self-expression and interests to create a community," Schmidt said. "This is apparent in every area of Cooeey, even down to the fine detail of the creation of personal Avatars that go with the user everywhere they navigate."

Cooeey is currently developing a mobile application that will port a user's profile to mobile handsets. Schmidt said the mobile pages would feature all the same tools on the Web site and that about 95 per cent of mobile phones would be able to access Cooeey via Java or WAP applications.

While comparisons between Cooeey's MyPage and the hugely popular MySpace are obvious, Schmidt maintained that both sites' service different markets.

"In the blogging sphere, although MySpace is our closest competitor, we don't plan on competing with them because we feel our product is complimentary," he said. "Our combination of real life profiling with virtual customisation is giving users something different compared to Myspace which is more of a network for friends."

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