Who-knows-whom – also simply called WKW – was a social network that existed from 2006 to 2014 and was very popular at times. Due to declining user numbers and too much competition from Facebook and other social media, the platform discontinued its service in June 2014. However, a successor was created with Wer-wissen-wen.net. Other alternatives to Facebook that are similar to the old Wer- Wissens-wen.de are also available today.
- Who-knows-who was one of the ten most popular German-language websites in 2012.
- The target group of who-knows-who mainly consisted of older people over 40.
- The platform ceased service in June 2014.
Functions of who-knows-whom
Short for WKW by abbreviationfinder, who-knows-whom served to network friends and acquaintances with one another. Using a search, users could find the profiles of people they knew. They could also search for their old school, their club, or one of many groups. In addition to their real names, the profile of a user also contained information about the place of residence, occupation, relationship status and interests of the respective person. Users could write status reports themselves or write in other profiles in their guestbook. There was also the option of uploading photos and putting them together in photo albums and tagging people who were also using the social medium.
The most important function of who-knows-whom was the networking of the users via the button “I know XY”. But it was also possible to ignore a person or to report a profile. The “My Page for Others” function showed your own profile from the point of view of other people, depending on their status: For example, those who were not registered could not see any profile content unless the relevant member deliberately published a status report as public visible. Acquaintances who had not yet joined the network could invite users to who-knows-whom. Celebrities received a “celebrity profile”. Those who wanted could become “AusKenner” and answer other users’ questions. In addition, there were games with Who-Knows-Who.
Who-knows-whom: At times a success story
The students at the time, Fabian Jager and Patrick Ohler, founded Wer-sucht-wen in October 2006 in Koblenz, originally for purely private use. However, the platform then spread quickly, initially mainly in southwest Germany. The network continued to grow rapidly. The millionth user registered as early as December 2007. In 2008 RTL interactive GmbH took a 49 percent stake in the platform and finally took over management on September 1, 2010. In 2012 who-knows-whom counted around 9.6 million members. At the time, the network was even one of the ten most popular German-language websites.
Older users aged 40 and over and their children were the most active users of Wer-knows-wen. Many of them came from rural areas. The design of the platform was comparatively simple; There were no playful additional functions as in some other social networks. Who-knows-whom limited himself to his basic functions, namely to find friends and acquaintances and to network with them.
Why Who-Knows-Who Failed
In the time after the complete takeover of Wer-knows-wen by RTL, fewer and fewer members used the platform. The number of visitors fell sharply between 2010 and 2013. A relaunch in October 2013 should help. But that led to an even greater drop in users – more than 40 percent in just four months. After RTL interactive GmbH tried unsuccessfully to sell the platform, they switched off who-knows-who in June 2014.
The fact that who-knows-whom has failed after almost eight years of existence can mainly be attributed to the success of Facebook. After the introduction of the German-language version in 2008, Facebook initially had difficulties asserting itself against German-speaking networks such as StudiVZ, SchülerVZ, MySpace and, above all, who-knows-who. In the end, however, it prevailed and almost completely displaced other networks. Many who-knows-who users migrated to Facebook by 2014.
Shortly after the platform was closed, a group of former users of Wer-sucht-wen started a successor that can be accessed via www.wer-wissen-wen.net. Former members who do not want to switch to Facebook can continue to network there with functions similar to those of the original. But today there are also numerous other social networks that are similar to the original who-knows-whom, for example Jappy. However, they are all rather small and have few members – the chance of meeting acquaintances and friends there is slim. The huge Facebook network still offers the largest number of potential acquaintances today.