According to comScore, Naver received 2 billion queries in August 2007, accounting for over 70% of all search queries in Korea, and making it the fifth most used search engine in the world, following Google search, Yahoo!, Baidu, and Bing.
Naver launched its service in Japan in 2009, marking their first expansion out of Korea.
The word "Naver" was derived from the word "navigate" and the suffix "-er" to mean "a sailor of the Web".
Naver was incorporated in June 1999, launching the first South Korean search portal that used an internally developed search engine. In August 2000, it launched the "Comprehensive Search" service. which allows users to get a variety of results from a search query on a single page, organized by type, including blogs, websites, images, cafes, etc. This was five years before Google launched a similar offering with its "Universal Search."
In July 2000, Naver was merged with Hangame, South Korea's first online game portal, and in 2001 changed its name to NHN, or Next Human Network. The combination of the country's top search engine and the top game portal has allowed NHN to remain South Korea's largest Internet company, with the top market capitalization among companies listed on KOSDAQ.
In the early days of Naver operation, there was a relative dearth of webpages in the Korean language. To fill this void, Naver became an early pioneer in user-generated content through the creation of the "Knowledge Search" service in 2002. In Knowledge Search, users pose questions on any subject, and select among answers provided by other users, awarding points to the users who provide the best answers. Knowledge Search was launched three years before Yahoo! launched its similar "Yahoo! Answers" service, and now boasts a database of over 80 million answer pages.
Over the years, Naver has continued to expand its offerings, adding a blog service in 2005, local information search and book search services in 2004, desktop search in 2005, and the webtoon(webcomic) service in 2006. From 2005-2007 it expanded its multimedia search services, including music and video search, Internet phone service and mobile search. On January 1, 2009, Naver released its new interface.
Naver Comics (Hangul:네이버 만화) is an area that provides Naver users with manhwa comics and original comic pieces. Most significantly, it offers comic book, genre fiction, and free manhwa. Users must pay publishers to use their comic book and genre fiction contents. On the other hand, free manhwa, webtoon, is provided by professional artists weekly for free. Moreover, Naver promotes amateurs to be writers of the comic series through the process of rising in status. Status tends to be raised by being selected as "Top Challenge Manhwa" after posting "Challenge Manhwa" as amateurs. Comic books and genre fiction are provided by choosing either a flat rate plan or a meter rate plan. However, the flat rate plan can sometimes be limited according to seminal works. Users can either buy each piece one by one or buy 1day/7day/30day flat rate plan to enjoy comics through that period. However, premium works can be limited to the flat rate plan by publishers. They must be paid by a credit provided by Naver, and it is called "Naver Coin". Naver Coins can be obtained by credit card payment, wire transfers, mobile phones, and gift cards that Naver accepts. It has a ratio of 1:1 with Korean currency. If users are interrupted while reading comics by system errors or maintenance, the interrupted periods will be paid back by doubling their hours.
Revenue is generated for Naver webtoons indirectly monetized from display or ads featured at the bottom of each webtoon episode.
More recently, Naver has been experimenting with a new form of advertising known as “Page Profit Share.” PPS is a type of visual ad that uses a webtoon’s art and characters to promote a product. These co-branded ads are featured alongside or at the end of a webtoon episode.
In the case of Page Profit Share ads, the content creator receives 70 percent of ad sales with the remainder going to the platform provider. PPS ads will likely stand out more for readers and result in higher click-through-rates, which means greater revenue for Naver and the author.
In Naver, there are three main catagories: 1) 도전 만화 Challenge Manhwa; 2) 베스토 도전 Best Challenge; 3) 웹툰 Webtoon
- 1) Challenge Manhwa is for anybody. Anyone from any skill can post their webtoons up here. Most of the people are just people doing this for fun. Some are very serious about this and are amateurs with very good skills. After a while, if a Challenge manhwa webtoon starts to gain popularity, it moves up to Best Challenge. Webtoons in this tier sometimes don't have a set schedule.
- 2) Best Challenge is the cream of the crop of the Challenge Manhwa webtoons. These people have been selected by Naver and promoted depending on their popularity and quality of their webtoons. Unlike the Webtoon tier, the webtoon creators can also publish their webtoon elsewhere to promote their creations. An example of this is Holy Alice. That webtoon was published at Naver, Daum, and Tapastic. If a Best Challenge webtoon has been extremely popular and has great quality, Naver will promote them to Webtoon.
- 3) Webtoon is the best of the best. This is where the artists actually get paid. They become full-time professional webtoon artists and they are paid for their work. The more popular webtoons are paid more. When a best challenge webtoon moves up to this category, they have to start all over and reboot the webtoon. To improve the quality of the webtoon, all the artists are required to revise their work. Once the webtoon creators reach this tier, they sign a contract giving Naver exclusive publishing rights for their webtoon. Competition to get into this tier is very difficult. This sometimes results in the artists moving another webtoon site.
- Black Haze (Serialized and continuation in Ttale)
- The Cat Meets Fish
- Cosmic Bullet
- The Devil Who Couldn't Fly
- Holy Alice
- Afterschool War Activities
- Americano Exodus
- Comic Man Blues
- Dragon's Son Changsik
- Dear, Only You Don't Know
- Girls of the Wild's
- How to Hug an Elephant
- Knight Run
- Let's Fight Ghost
- Moonlight Hair
- Penguin Loves Mev
- The Dragon Next Door
- Tower of God
- The Gamer
- The God of High School
- Space China Dress
- Welcome to the Convenience Store