The social network allows users to interact and chat for free under the highest privacy, to the extent that it is not accessible from search engines like Google and posts cannot be seen by other friends’ contacts unless the user adds them to their list.
The Tuenti story
Created in 2006, the social network allows users to add only “real friends,” whose profiles are analyzed daily to verify the accuracy and legality of contents published.
“Tuenti is not for meeting new people – we add real friends. No one has 150 or 200 friends; there are other social networks for that purpose,” said Sebastián Muriel, Vice-President of Corporate Development for the company.
In fact, the social network owned by Telefónica is very zealous about keeping out noise, such as irrelevant information or advertisements which hamper the user experience, and all conversations on the site are SSL-encrypted.
Muriel explained that Tuenti’s mobile version serves as its home screen, which is how the idea for the social network came about.
“You can follow a conversation with your contacts on one device and then continue it on another, and the view does not change much since the data is stored in the cloud, unlike WhatsApp, where the account is linked to a single device and even photos or files sent remain on that one device,” he said.
When downloading Tuenti on a mobile device, people can be added according to the following two criteria:
– As “contacts” – chat and share content, without granting access to the user profile
– As “friends” – chat and share content, plus allow them to view your posts/content
Tuenti runs no advertising or marketing, nor is it indexed to search engines. The company does do business, only it’s done differently, explains Zaryn Dentzel, founder and CEO of the social network.
The site’s business model is based on the delivery of a 2.0 telecommunications package it operates with Telefónica, the Spanish concern that bought the startup in 2010 for 70 million euros.
“In Spain, we have a virtual operator (Tuenti Móvil) that offers voice over IP and data services in addition to the app, which is called Telco 2.0 and has been developed in partnership with Telefónica. The bet is that eventually, other countries will benefit from these services”, he said.
Tuenti generated revenues of 14 million euros in 2012, but does not yet have earnings projections for the Mexican market, since the idea is to grow with the support of Telefónica’s digital strategy, which will integrate the social network into their service plans.
“The challenge is to show that we have a global product that works in several markets. For now, we want to grow and then think of monetizing it”, added Dentzel.
Tuenti in figures
– The social network is a hit in Europe, mainly in Spain
– Has 15 million registered users, with six million on the app, and gets 40 billion page views per month
– 500 million chat messages a week
– Available in 12 languages in beta versions
– Has Blackberry, iOS, Windows Phone, Firefox OS, and Android versions, with the latter also offering VoIP call functions