Hi5 (website)
hi5 is a social networking website based in San Francisco, California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

. The company was founded in 2003 by Ramu Yalamanchi
Ramu Yalamanchi
Ramu Yalamanchi is an Indian entrepreneur. He founded the social networking websitehi5 and is its CEO. hi5 is one of the largest social networking sites in the World, the #1 social networking service for the Spanish speaking market, and a top 10 site in 20 countries across the globe. During...

. By 2008, comScore
comScore is a Internet marketing research company providing marketing data and services to many of the Internet's largest businesses. comScore tracks all internet data on its surveyed computers in order to study online behavior....

 reported that hi5 had become the third most popular social networking site in terms of monthly unique visitors.

Bill Gossman was appointed CEO in April 2009, and since that time, hi5 has refocused itself as a social gaming
Social gaming
Social gaming commonly refers to playing games as a way of social interaction, as opposed to playing games in solitude, like some card games and the single-player mode of many video games...

 platform and opened itself to new game developers.. Gaming industry veteran Alex St. John
Alex St. John
Alex St. John, along with Craig Eisler and Eric Engstrom, created the original Microsoft DirectX specification. Alex became a Windows game technology evangelist for DirectX through magazine articles and interviews on the newly created web....

 joined the company as President and CTO in November 2009., and in early 2010, hi5 acquired social gaming company Big Six. The company raised $20 million in series A venture capital from Mohr Davidow Ventures
Mohr Davidow Ventures
Mohr Davidow Ventures is a venture capital firm that invests in early stage technology companies. For over 28 years, Mohr Davidow has helped to build more than 250 startup companies. The firm has $1.85B under management...

, as well as $15 million in venture debt
Venture debt
Venture debt or venture lending is a type of debt financing provided to venture-backed companies by specialised banks or non-bank lenders to fund working capital or capital expenses, such as purchasing equipment. Unlike traditional bank lending, venture debt is available to startups and growth...

, in 2007, and announced it had raised $3 million convertible note from existing investor Mohr Davidow, bringing the funding up to $38 million. Quantcast reports hi5 has 2.7 million monthly US visitors and 46.1 million global visitors. Software-industry veteran Karen Richardson
Karen Richardson
Karen Richardsons 25-year career in the software business includes positions as a key player in several well-known and highly successful companies.In November 2011, Richardson joined the board of directors of BT Group plc...

 has served as chairwoman of the company's board since 2008.


hi5 has many features common to social networking sites, such as friend networks, photo sharing
Photo sharing
Photo sharing is the publishing or transfer of a user's digital photos online, thus enabling the user to share them with others . This function is provided through both websites and applications that facilitate the upload and display of images...

, user groups, and status updates. Since the site’s redesign in 2009, hi5 has added a number of features oriented toward gaming and entertainment. The site features over 200 games in a variety of genres, and has been adding games at a rate of 2-3 per week.

At hi5, users can create an online
ONLINE is a magazine for information systems first published in 1977. The publisher Online, Inc. was founded the year before. In May 2002, Information Today, Inc. acquired the assets of Online Inc....

 profile in order to show information such as interests, age and hometown. Users can also upload photos and create personal photo albums where other users can post comments. hi5 also allows the user to play online games and set up a music player in the profile. Users can also send friend requests via e-mail
Electronic mail, commonly known as email or e-mail, is a method of exchanging digital messages from an author to one or more recipients. Modern email operates across the Internet or other computer networks. Some early email systems required that the author and the recipient both be online at the...

 to other users. When a person receives a friend request, he may accept or decline it, or block the user altogether. If the user accepts another user as a friend, the two will be connected directly or in the 1st degree. The user will then appear on the person's friend list and vice-versa.

Some users opt to make their profiles available for everyone on hi5 to view. Other users exercise the option to make their profile viewable only to those people who are in their network
Computer network
A computer network, often simply referred to as a network, is a collection of hardware components and computers interconnected by communication channels that allow sharing of resources and information....

. The network of friends consists of a user's direct friends (1st degree), the friends of those direct friends (2nd degree) and the friends of the friends of direct friends (3rd degree).

In early 2010, hi5 began to evolve from a social network into a site focused on social gaming
Social gaming
Social gaming commonly refers to playing games as a way of social interaction, as opposed to playing games in solitude, like some card games and the single-player mode of many video games...

 and opened to new game developers.

Market share

Due to hi5’s shift in focus to social gaming, comScore reclassified hi5 as an online gaming site in early 2011. According to comScore, hi5 ranked as a the 6th most trafficked online gaming site.

Although created and headquartered in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, it is more popular in other countries, particularly in Latin America, being ranked 37th in the world only among people who have the Alexa toolbar installed on their browser but only 84th in the US.


In 2010, hi5 began introducing new developer tools to strengthen the adoption of social gaming on the site. In October, hi5 announced Sociopath, a set of tools designed to make it easier for developers to bring their game to the hi5 platform. A major part of the program was the implementation of Facebook compatible APIs, which simplified the process of bringing games already developed for Facebook to hi5. Sociopath also introduced anonymous play to the site, making it easier for gamers to play games immediately without first having to provide registration info. Sociopath was initially introduced at GDC Online in 2010.

As a companion to Sociopath, hi5 introduced Sociopay in early 2011. Sociopay is intended to help hi5 to better monetize users, increasing revenues for themselves and developers. Sociopay automatically adjusts the prices for hi5 coins based upon a user’s region, capitalizing on hi5’s international success and helping to monetize users from many different economies. Sociopay also helps monetize users less likely to purchase coins by instead serving them advertisements.


Hi5 has used controversial email address import methods to gain more users - which may be considered a form of spam. After registering the site users are given the option to send invitation e-mails to their contacts in a variety of web-based e-mail services.
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