Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Nasza Klasa, for years known simply as NK.pl, is officially ending after fifteen years of operation. The service was once a phenomenon of our native Internet. On the occasion of its closure, it is worth tracing the history of the “Polish Facebook”.
- July 27, 2021, Nasza Klasa service officially ends
- Nasza Klasa was founded in 2006 and was the most popular Internet service in Poland
- At its best time, the site boasted over 19 million users
- Over time, the popularity of Nasza Klasa waned, and the new owners tried to rescue it
Once a phenomenon, now an obituary – on July 27, 2021, Nasza Klasa (Our Class – ed.) officially closed its doors. We couldn’t pass by this event indifferently. Nobody has replicated the phenomenon of a Polish social network yet. So, sit back and take a trip into the past with us. We remind you of the history of this service.
The birth of the new social medium
It’s 2006. Social networking is nothing new, but it is different from what the popular Facebook presents today. In Poland, Epuls, Grono or Fotka were already quite popular at that time. They enabled communication on completely different rules than the most popular instant messengers in our country at that time – Gadu-Gadu (later GG) and Tlen.
However, mainly youth used such services. Colourful emoticons, lots of pictures with “pecks,” or even the ability to play your favourite Britney Spears track on your profile. It was something the West had at the turn of the 20th century, as well as we did just a short while later. Amid all this slightly uncool craziness of social networking sites, in November 2006, Nasza Klasa emerged.
The idea for the service was born in the head of a student at the University of Wrocław, Maciej Popowicz. He introduced the idea to a few of his colleagues, with Paweł Olchawa showing the greatest commitment, and these two are now referred to as the fathers of Nasza Klasa.
Following foreign trends
The idea of a virtual class book was not original. In the United States, there were already similar network services, whose aim was to find friends from the school bench. The Poles, however, had a rather interesting idea that Nasza Klasa would allow you to create groups based on every possible yearbook, every class, in every school, in every city, and then add there a full list of students and – of course – a photo. This idea was priceless and the invested in a domain and a small server 200 PLN paid off surprisingly fast.
For the first month, the site grew completely organically. Look in vain for loud commercials. Information about a portal for finding old friends spread in the same way as information about any other “Internet hit” – a new flash game or a video on YouTube, created less than two years earlier – via instant messengers and other social networks.
On the first day, about 300 people registered on the portal, and after a few days, the number grew to a thousand. It was a great result for the work of a small group of students, but it was about to get even better. The breakthrough came on Christmas Day when information about Nasza Klasa went on mainstream television for the first time. And it was in a place where it could reach its most important target group – “Panorama” on TVP2, which was willingly watched by older people. And who, if not them, have the most forgotten friends from school walls?
Time was also of the essence
Even if the elderly didn’t quite know how to use the internet themselves, during the Christmas break there was a good chance that someone in the household would help them. By the way, they will also create an account on Nasza Klasa. Thus, from a few thousand created accounts in mid-December, in February the service exceeded the barrier of 100 thousand users. And that was just the beginning.
The changes initiated in 2009 were necessary if you wanted to take the fight to Mark Zuckerberg’s service, but they also turned out to be quite drastic. In about six months, the site changed its face dramatically, to which many users reacted with downright impulsive hysteria.
“Śledzik” stirred things up
It started with Śledzik (in Polish – Herring – ed). This Twitter-like widget was placed on users’ profiles, being something like a Facebook wall. There we could post short notes, then the people following our profiles read them. It’s hard to call this idea bad or absurd in retrospect. Although, there were more opponents than supporters among NK users.
In 2010, the service also changed its name. It has been renamed from Nasza Klasa to NK.pl. Along with this change, new regulations have also appeared, at least as unpopular with users as the aforementioned Tracker. Why? Because it contained a fairly standard clause (similar to Facebook’s) stating that the information found on the site (including photos) is the property of NK.pl. It caused hysteria that just like that our photos taken with our phones will suddenly be used on advertising banners and sold to third parties.
In addition, there was an attempt to monetize the service in the form of virtual currency – Eurocorns, for which we could buy virtual gifts. We could have, we didn’t have to. Here again, however, there were misunderstandings and some users were afraid that soon they would have to pay for the whole service
The heckling on Śledzik (in Polish – Herring), panic over the terms of service, and misunderstood micropayments caused the number of accounts on NK to start declining after 2010. This was also since Nasza Klasa, associated rather with a service for older people and/or junior high school students, is no longer fashionable. Instead, that’s the patch Facebook got – western, neat, already connecting millions of people around the world.
Decreasing popularity of NK.pl
Despite these problems and changing hands, NK.pl still exists and still has a large group of happy users. Although it’s been quiet since 2011, ask your parents or grandparents about Nasza Klasa – some of them still go back to it.
The new site administrator has tried hard in recent years to encourage a return to the “old rubbish”. Profiles created even a dozen years ago and photos uploaded were still waiting to be discovered with nostalgia and stay for a while longer to refresh old contacts.
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