Nexopia

Nexopia
Type Private
Founded Edmonton, Alberta,
February 2003
Headquarters Edmonton, Alberta
Key people Timo Ewalds (Founder),
Kevin Swan (CEO)
Net income Undisclosed
Employees 11 - 50
Website nexopia.com
Type of site Social Networking, Forums
Registration Required
Available in English
Launched February 2003
Current status Active

Nexopia.com is a popular Canadian social networking website based in downtown Edmonton, created by Timo Ewalds. It was designed as a general interactive site for people aged 14 and up, but the age limit recently was lowered to 13.[1] Users are able to create and design their own profiles, friends list, blogs, galleries, articles, and forums. Interaction is accomplished through an internal personal messaging system, and public user comments on profiles, blogs or through threads and posts on the forums.

Contents

History

Nexopia evolved from the small community site called Enternexus.com, a website built by Timo Ewalds. An initial beta site limited to 70 members led to the current website. Initial growth was as follows, 4 days to hit 100 users, and 22 months to hit 225 000 users.[2] A short period of time existed where the website was growing by 10% per day (3500 new users per day)[3] For the month of January 2005, bandwidth was estimated at 8-10 terabytes.[4] As of October 2010, the site has just under 1.5 million users and nearly 35 billion hits.

The website initially had problems using Paypal as a payment method for their premium service (Plus) due to their demographic and issues with stolen credit cards.[5] In recent years however it has had great success with Interac Online, a service that allows account holders at participating banks to make payments online through Online banking. Nexopia Plus cards can also be purchased at Mac's Convenience stores and 7Eleven to eliminate the use of credit cards or interac online.

The website has also been the target of hackers and has been targeted by Distributed Denial of Service or DDoS attacks at least twice.[6]

Update

Nexopia launched an update to its user profile pages, the largest revision since the site's launch in 2003. The redesign includes a streamlined layout, Ajax controls for messages, galleries, and profile editing, new profile skinning options, and image resizing.[7] The update to the website has caused much controversy among users due to recent issues. Such as slow load times, profile pictures being deleted or not uploading, private messages not being sent, forms not working correctly, and people angry simply because the site design was different. Nexopia staff had recently set up a poll asking what users disliked most about the new Nexopia site design. After finding that the majority of users disliked the new profile picture slider the most, Nexopia staff decided to provide the option to switch between the classic profile picture viewer and the new improved profile picture slider.[8]

Members

Over 95% of its users are Canadian and the site has become quite popular in western Canada, with over 1.4 million member accounts and over 500,000 active users and a hit count of over 33 billion. During peak hours the site sometimes reaches over 30,000 users and several thousand guests online.

No nudity, racism, violence or gore are allowed in any of the forums or profiles, although photos of drugs are accepted only to a certain degree, and that degree is only a small amount of marijuana and the use of pipes and bongs. Alcohol is also accepted. Any other controlled substance (heroin, cocaine, or any other classified "hard drug") is not allowed. All profile pictures are checked by specially appointed photo moderators before being allowed up on a user's page. Photos put on a user's profile are not checked, but there is a "report abuse" button where another user can report anything that is not to Nexopia code of conduct. Nexopia also takes a hard stance against copyright infringement, presumably in fear of litigation. Over the last few years Nexopia has come under fire[9] from various hardline parent groups who blamed many of their children's problems on the website and tried to have it be shut down. This has resulted in a policy change and forced Nexopia to be more strict about what users post on the website.

In March 2007, four students from Sherwood Park, Alberta were expelled from school and twenty given suspensions in a case of cyberbullying.[10] Students from the Elk Island school district used Nexopia to create profiles of their teachers in which classmates posted defamatory, silly, derogatory, and libellous information on the teachers' pages.[10]

Criticism

The website became very popular with teenagers, making the site a prime target for online predators.[11][12][13] Since a user's profile can be completely open to the public, all the profile images and information are viewable. Users often post personal information like their address, mobile telephone number, family members, relationship status, and what school they attend.

Online spam has increased since the website gained popularity. "Dummy" accounts are created that send spam messages to users, linking them to websites containing pornographic materials or malicious information.

The Plus feature was recently introduced into the Mac's Convenience Stores.[14] As convenient as it may seem, a lack of staff knowledge and availability has led to the Plus feature being pulled from Macs locations.

Quite often, users who do not follow the rules get a simple ban from the website or have their account "frozen". The lack of an adult userbase has often been noted on the website and around.

Nexopia is very popular in western Canada reaching from Manitoba to British Columbia. There is a lack of users and interest in eastern Canada, but the CEO of Nexopia, plans on changing that.[15]

Forums

The forum system, among other things, has been custom-designed to fit the large number of users. The forums include many official Nexopia forums, some regarding the websites functionality, while others are themed towards topics such as music or transportation, and some, such as User Topics, Teens, and Attention Seekers are non-specific to topic.

Aside from official forums, Nexopia Plus users have the option of creating their own forums, which can be open to any user or be a private forum that only invited members can view.

The forums are watched by specially chosen Global Mods as well as the administrators of the website. They have the power to fully edit any forums that are created by plus users. They watch for posts containing nudity as well as any other post that is against Nexopia's terms of use.

Memberships

Users with free accounts have access to standard features such as forum posting, private messaging, user profiles with comments, photo uploading, a user blog and an image gallery.

Users paying a subscription fee gain access to extra features such as advanced user search, forum creation, various customization options, increased photo uploads and image gallery capacity, online file storage, and the elimination of ads.

References


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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