April 07, 2011
Cerego Japan has closed the doors of Smart.fm, its free "social learning" site. The closure took effect on March 31st and a new fee-based service called "iKnow" has been introduced as a replacment. iKnow was the brand the Smart.fm service was originally launched as in 2007.
Cerego Japan had aims of attracting a user base of over 1 million registered users with a free learning SNS that would be monetized through sponsorship. Over $20 million dollars of investment money has been pumped into the service (including $3.48 million from NTT in 2009), but the company has apparently been unable to reach its targets for user numbers or attract profitable sponsorship. Industry insiders had been expecting a radical overhaul of its business model.
The new iKnow service offers a free trial followed by a subscription price of ¥1,000 per month.
• iKnow website
• Cerego Japan press release
• SNS iKnow starts new learning service for finance and accounting English
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