Not long after our interview with James Vuong the CEO of the community-sourced project Project Lana, whose mission is to “deliver happiness to women,” has just released an iPhone app for its users. The app, which was released on January 4th, allows community members to conveniently continue their discussions on their iPhones.
Web Tre Tho has been around for ten years and is the largest online female community in Vietnam, now receiving over four million unique visitors per month. It predates Project Lana and basically gave birth to the initiative. The app is not openly promoted on the main Web Tre Tho website and neither are Project Lana’s other projects, Lam Dieu and Be Yeu (But is available for download here).
Most of the technology community doesn’t know much about what Project Lana is doing and it has been perceived to be in stealth mode for over a year now. I speculate that this is all in keeping with the lean startup philosophy of shipping a minimal viable product into early adopters. This would mean iterating and beta testing instead of making a heavy marketing push as many of Project Lana’s e-commerce competitors are doing.
So how is the app? It’s got a sleek interface with colors true to the Web Tre Tho original theme. The developers have focused mainly on simplicity and ported most of the forum content onto the app so that it’s easy to reply to the usual queries you see on the site like: “What is a good product for my sick 5-year-old?” or “What is wedding night like if you’ve already made love?”. For deeper content, the app forwards to a web view.
The main categories include: newest posts, favorited posts, complete forum view, news, and a category of your choosing. The app also subtly adds a section to access Project Lana’s two main e-commerce sites for user suggestions and conversation. For a country whose internet activity is still predominantly in forums and is increasingly mobile, the move into an app a wise one. This especially true if the new mobile platform is intended to promote its e-commerce sites. I wonder if we will soon see Be Yeu and Lam Dieu mobile apps just around the corner.
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