New social networks invent twists to stay in game

Start-ups had to quickly change and overcome users' resistance to joining yet-another social network.

New social network players say don't call "game over" simply because MySpace and Facebook are pulling in about 70 per cent of the Web traffic that's headed toward the top 57 social networking sites. Scrappy new players are devising engagement strategies, narrow customer focuses, and product twists to lure audiences and catch the eyes of business developers. The market is still young and up for grabs.

"Developers need to iterate and develop quickly," states Jeremiah Owyang, social networking analyst for Forrester Research. "There's no best practice or rule-of-thumb yet. There's room for anyone to come in and become a dominant network."

Even though they don't compete as social networking Web sites, there are also thousands of Web applications, widgets, and communities vying for eyeballs, ad clicks, and screen turf. (One Web 2.0 directory listed 2,604 logos earlier this month, and Facebook alone claims 400,000 developers).

Like other early players still swimming after MySpace and Facebook canon-balled into the pool, PeopleJam had to quickly change and overcome users' resistance to joining yet-another social network.

The company "evolved in many ways we would not have predicted when we launched," said Matt Edelman, CEO, PeopleJam. "When we appeared at DEMO, and for the first several months, we pursued a rather classic definition of a new type of site - social media. We found over the first several months, from user feedback and users, that the idea of having another profile, another place for your identity beyond the main social networks, was becoming burdensome, users were feeling profile fatigue."

"We started to observe, not just with PeopleJam, but also with other social media sites trying to drive connectivity around content and around lifestyle interests, that we don't see any successes in the market," Edelman said. "So we began to evolve the business to drive a different type of value proposition which is much more in the category of being a social utility. We've developed to be a social utility for people interested in social improvement (launched August 4) as a component of our site that will be layered on top of the social media."

Blogger Paul Gillin advises, "To survive, you've got to focus," advises blogger Paul Gillin, author of the upcoming book, Secrets of Social Media Marketing. "Find customers who have attractive demographics. If there's one thing that the Web 2.0 experience should have taught us by now, it's all about targeted, small markets."

PeopleJam has a clear sense of its target audience: the personal development market, which, it says, "exceeds [US]$11 billion annually and is growing at approximately 11 per cent per year, attracting an estimated 45 to 60 million adults with highly desirable purchasing power."

Tasty - if they can grab a slice.

For some companies, it's not about building another social Web site, but creating products with social networking twists.

"I wouldn't try to launch another social networking site," says Chris Anderson, CEO of Capzles. "We are a tool with social networking aspects."

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Daniel Dern

The Industry Standard
Show Comments


James Cook University - Master of Data Science Online Course

Learn more >


Sansai 6-Outlet Power Board + 4-Port USB Charging Station

Learn more >



Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?