Instead of having those endless discussions with your friends about soccer, why don’t you post your opinion online and let the debate take a life of its own? That’s what Kigol is all about. Supported by a worldwide known passion of Brazilians for soccer and internet, Cloud Nine, a company specialized in social media, has brought the two together and created a social network for soccer fans, giving the online community the perfect outlet to share opinions, read news and follow the latest matches, players, clubs and championships. It also offers several social features that will help you stay connected in your favorite networks while you get your daily fix of soccer news.
The soccer news platform wasn’t Cloudnine’s first endeavor. Founded by Shawn Cohen and Todd Cohen, the company provides white label social networking service to both large organizations and small businesses, including companies such as Mashable, ABC, Disney and Sun Microsystems. Such expertise was fundamental to design Kigol’s features and have a clear understanding of how users would interact with the website which uses one of the top wordpress hosting services.
Todd came to Brazil in 2009 and together with Vinicius Neves, executive director at Cloudnine, had the idea of creating a soccer social network. Prior to Kigol, Vinicius developed projects to brands like KochTavares, Shoreline Real Estate, Electric Life do Brasil and grupo Eletromidia/INTV.
Kigol was launched in April, 2010, completing its first anniversary this month. With an impressive database of 5000 players, 4000 clubs and more than 600 leagues around the world, Cloudnine is serious about making Kigol the main platform for sharing soccer news. There are 40.000 registered users and each one of them is a potential blogger. They can easily share their thoughts and opinions on the latest events using the blogging tool or any of the integrated social networks, such as Twitter, Facebook and Orkut.
Features on Kigol provide a great way for newcomers to start their careers as sports journalists, but senior professionals can also take advantage of the platform. Renowned professional commentators such as Neto, Silvio Luiz, Marcello Lima, Alex Muller, Luis Ademar, Rogerio Micheletti, Vagner Martins, are already blogging almost daily on Kigol, drawing their followers to the network.
These are all Brazilian commentators and former players, but it won’t be long until we can see some famous international names surfacing as Kigol bloggers. The platform has gone international since November, aiming to attract contributors to share their local perspectives on soccer all around the world. With this expansion, Cloudnine expects to increase the number of users and become a major worldwide player by 2014, when Brazil will host the World Cup.
To achieve this goal, the company is planning marketing campaigns, promotions and participation in global events, with the help of partners and sponsors. Also, key influencers around the world are being invited to join Kigol and share their opinions, which add to the network’s credibility as a trustworthy soccer news source. As for competition, there aren’t any other social networks focused on soccer, and other news sources generate content to be discussed by users in Kigol, creating a cycle in the industry that leads to synergy rather than conflict.
Another aspect of Kigol, and what makes it even more relevant for the international community of bloggers and entrepreneurs, is the ability to quickly spread news among users that share one very common interest: their love for soccer. Although you can find people of all ages, income classes, and regions in Kigol, knowing that they have registered solely because they are soccer fans or at least want to be in the know of what is happening in the sport can prove to be highly valuable to someone who is developing a sports game, starting a blog about a soccer club, designing soccer accessories, and many other situations. Using traditional networks such as Twitter and Facebook would require extensive searching to reach the same profile of users, as each profile or page in these networks is driven by its own set of interests and may attract a more diverse group of people.
As for soccer enthusiasts around the world, it may be the beginning of a new era, where fans learn about what is happening with players and clubs across the globe directly from other fans that have the local view, and it is not impossible to imagine some crowdsourcing features to request incredible matchups between the world’s greatest clubs. And for those who love to tease their club’s rival fans, know that you will be able to do so in international scale, but be ready for massive comebacks!