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South Korean search engine

Naver Logotype.png
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Started: 1999

Constitutes: search engine

Naver (Hangul: 네이버) is a South Korean online platform operated by Naver Corporation. It debuted in 1999 as the first web portal in South Korea to develop and use its own search engine. It was also the world's first operator to introduce the comprehensive search feature, which compiles search results from various categories and presents them in a single page. Naver has since added a multitude of new services ranging from basic features such as e-mail and news to the world's first online Q&A platform Knowledge iN.

As of September 2017, the search engine handled 74.7% of all web searches in South Korea and had 42 million enrolled users. More than 25 million Koreans have Naver as the start page on their default browser and the mobile application has 28 million daily visitors. Naver is also frequently referred to as 'the Google of South Korea'.[1]


Naver's closed platform is frequently mentioned. Other search engines are not allowed to search their knowledge base and blogs, monopolizing Naver's control over its properties. In April 2011, the second and third portal sites in Korea, Daum and Nate, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to open their search for services such as cafe and blogs. Naver did not choose to participate in this MoU.[2]

Naver helps with unauthorized publishing in order to attract users to its Knowledge iN service. This contributes to poor quality content on Knowledge iN, as prior answers to a question are left unaltered, and old questions are only allowed small modifications by other netizens. Criticism is also growing as Naver unilaterally controls comments, and edits information that may be against its political positions.[3]

Naver introduced new restrictions on comments to protect celebrities from malicious comments by anonymous online audiences in March, 2020. This followed a 2019 incident where a famous K-pop star Sulli committed suicide due to depression after facing a huge amount of malicious comments.[4]


In October 2020, Naver was fined 26.7 billion won ($22.9 million) by South Korea's Fair Trade Commission (FTC) for manipulating its algorithm between 2012 and 2015 in favor of its own services such as Smart Store and Naver TV over services provided by rivals.[5][6] Naver's share in the open market sector increased from 4.97% in 2015 to 21.08% in 2018, while competitors' market shares went down.[7][8]

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