The end is nigh! Social media website Nasza Klasa to close after 15 years
Poland’s precursor to Facebook and the website that got Poland online is to close down for good on July 27th.
Originally known as Nasza Klasa before becoming NK.pl, at its peak the website had nearly 40 unique million users and was used by over FIFTY percent of Poland’s internet users.
Founded and launched by four computer science students from the University of Wrocław, Maciej Popowicz, Paweł Olchawa, Michał Bartoszkiewicz, and Łukasz Adziński, Nasza Klasa went live on 11th November 2006.
An investment of only 200 PLN was needed to register the domain name and establish the first website. The students set about popularizing the page in Wrocław and then Silesia.
The growth was quick and monthly figure often saw the number of users doubling until March 2008 when they stabilized at about 40 million unique users.
Although there were other networks that existed in Poland which mainly targeted the teenage audience, NK was different and offered users the ability to set up discussion groups.
Seen as a way to reconnect with lost childhood friends and also find new friends who shared the same passion or hobby, NK quickly became the introduction to the internet for large swaths of Poles.
In 2009, in an attempt to retain their users and fight off the emerging Facebook, NK introduced several changes to the platform, many of which met with fierce resistance of its users.
Śledzik, a box in which users could post texts similar to a FB wall or Twitter, was met with a backlash and users began moving off the site.
In 2010, Nasza Klasa formally changed its name to NK.pl and introduced new regulations, another move that upset its user-base.
The introduction of a digital currency, Eurogąbki, something which Facebook is trying to introduce at the moment, so users could buy presents for each other also was a massive failure at the time.
The founders left the company, cashing in before it crashed, but so too did users.
Dr. Andrzej Małachowski, who was head of Business Communication Department at Wrocław University of Economics at the time, published a report in 2009 entitled the ‘Phenomenon of Nasza Klasa (Our Class) Polish Social Network Site’.
In his conclusion, he wrote: “Undoubtedly, the social networking service of Nasza-klasa has proved enormously successful on the virtual market of Polish Internet.
“Nasza-klasa is still one of the most popular Polish websites, attracting more than 50% of Polish Internet users. Interestingly, as shown in this author’s research, the functionality features offered by Nasza-klasa have inspired a lot of new users – middle aged and older, people from small towns and rural areas – previously indifferent to the possibilities offered by the Internet.
“Moreover, ca. 10% of the portal traffic (i.e., ca. 1 million users) originates from abroad. Nasza-klasa has come to be one of the most widely recognized Polish ebrands.”
Announcing its closure, the website’s owners said that people with existing accounts can still log into the platform and save any old photos or contacts they might lose otherwise.
The company is also offering refunds for users who still have credits on the site.