Online news websites in Cambodia have rarely hired professional reporters to write their own articles, excepting the news breaking Dap or Sabay. But Cambodiacircles, a new-born news and social networking site, has stepped out and seized the chance to be the first to produce lengthy feature stories.
Cambodiacircles was founded in 2011 and its aim is to be an interactive platform gathering of people who share the same interests, activities, or careers - professionals, civil servants, NGOs, academics, business owners, and others.
There also ads for jobs, discussion forums, and of course, features articles. More than that, the site allows people sign up creating a profile page and networking with other registered members.
Not of all the categories are successful. The only real stand-out section is “Articles’’ a detailed archive of feature stories written by young reporters.
Most of the published stories focus on youth and social issues such as one entitled ‘New Way of Cheating --- LINE and WhatsApp”, reporting how Cambodian year 12 students use mobile and smart phones to cheat during their final high school. It has had more than four hundred unique views.
The site also carries advertising. But, the factor distinguishing Cambodiancircles from other news websites is the empty space without eye-distractions such as company logos or flashing advertisements.
They are stored in ‘Sponsor’ section so browsers can choose to look at an ad or not – which could become a revenue issue as they don’t pop up.
Even though the website aims for active interaction among its members and visitors, it has not quite been the success it hoped to be.
Almost all of the articles published on Cambodiacircles have been viewed and shared to other social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. This can result in both advantage and disadvantage to the website.
A website is like a store --- it wants people to do real shopping at the store, not window shop it at other platforms.