Kakao, the portal ‘Daum’ that causes conflict with the political world

Where does the portal ‘Daum’ go?

As Kakao announced that it would operate the portal Daum as an in-house independent company (CIC), interest in the background is gathering.

According to the information and communications industry on the 5th, as Kakao announced on the 15th that it would establish CIC, which is in charge of Daum, the previous day, analysis and prospects are being raised that it is actually a paving stone with a spin-off or sale in mind. Kakao is officially dismissing these observations and projections. The meaning of CIC (Company in Company) itself also means a company that is operated in the form of an in-house venture inside the company instead of a spin-off.

◆Kakao, Portal Daum and ‘Decision to break up?’

The fact that Kakao virtually excluded the portal business from its headquarters is giving birth to various interpretations. Established in 1995, Daum opened domestic Internet trends such as Hanmail, Cafe, Media Daum, and Search with the beginning of the Internet.

Founded in 2006, Kakao has emerged as a platform powerhouse in the mobile era, starting with the mobile messenger ‘KakaoTalk’. In May 2014, Daum succeeded in a backdoor listing by absorbing and merging with Kakao.

In September of the following year, it was evaluated that it was a move to erase Daum by changing the name from ‘Daum Kakao’ to ‘Kakao’.

Kakao also led the organizational culture and internal atmosphere after the merger. The industry believes that Kakao’s move to take off Daum again after 9 years of merger and 8 years of name change is because there are more negative factors than positive factors.

Bae Jae-hyeon, head of Kakao Investment, said in a performance conference call the previous day that some businesses that are judged to have low competitiveness are planned to be closed. As a result, some have observed that Kakao is either organizing or downsizing its portal business.

Conflict with the next political sphere

For a long time, the portal Daum has been in conflict with the political world due to controversy over left-leaning controversy regarding news exposure algorithms, related comments, and the operation of the ‘Daum Agora’.

Although the current ruling party, which is mainly conservative and right-leaning, set an angle, during the previous administration, dissatisfaction and criticism were raised even among the progressive left-leaning passport and its supporters, and Kakao had no choice but to go through a double quandary.

However, in the industry, it is evaluated that the political burden caused by the operation of the portal Daum service has increased at the present time when the conservative right-wing government, which had relatively more dissatisfaction among the two political forces, came to power.

In fact, the political world, centering on the passport, is holding a series of discussions dealing with the editorial right of the portal and the infringement of the rights and interests of small business owners and consumers.

In the process of operating the portal news service, the constant conflict with the media cannot be ignored.

◆Consideration of withdrawal from the Kakao News Partnership Evaluation Committee

Currently, Kakao is carefully considering withdrawing from the Portal News Affiliation Evaluation Committee (Review Committee).

The Review Committee is a review body jointly established to enhance fairness in reviewing media affiliates.

Controversy has continued, especially in the process of organizing and operating the review committee, with fairness disputes continuing, and the media companies that were eliminated due to not disclosing the review process, protesting.

A high-ranking official from Kakao said, “There is a consensus that the operation of the portal, including the review committee, should not be like this.”

In particular, according to the first quarter performance announced by Kakao the previous day, business sales in the ‘portal business’ field, including Daum’s PC and mobile services, decreased by 26.7% compared to the first quarter of last year, to only KRW 83.6 billion.

In a performance conference call the previous day, Bae Jae-hyeon, general manager of investment in Kakao, said that some businesses that were judged to be less competitive were planning to be closed.

Kakao is officially drawing a line against this prospect, saying that it is a “paving stone to further strengthen its competitiveness.”

Reporter Kim Ki-hwan [email protected]

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