Sunday, October 19, 2003

Trying Out "Social Networking"

I have been reading about "Social Networking" applications for a while, most notably a few articles at TechDirt and others which have pointed out that there is a funding "bubble" in this space. My opinion was that I didn't see a revenue or profit stream from this market since it is used mainly for "socializing" and would have problems finding an application in business. While dating services can make money, I don't see VCs getting a return on their investment by this segment becoming a giant revenue maker. They are likely hoping that Yahoo, Google and the other main portals will buy into this space to increase their traffic flow (like Google's purchase of Blogger, which you are currently reading), but if these companies become interested, it will be a make versus buy decision and I am doubtful that the VCs will see a 10x return on their investment.

I was invited this weekend to join Friendster and since I was spouting opinions about its market, I thought I would join and check it out.

My first impression is the same as before I joined: it looks like a good way to meet people for socializing and to fill your Little Black Book. It is also probably a good way to hook up with people with similar hobbies, especially those that require a lot of people like Civil War Re-enactment. However, its usefulness as a business tool is questionable, at best.

I will give it some time and will invite some of my "friends" on board to get their opinion, but so far I see this as basically a dating service for young adults.

Some of the "friends" registered on the site are people having fun. There are at least a few cars looking for others to "rev their engines". Sweden, Countryof is also a member. Since this whole concept goes back to "Six Degrees to Kevin Bacon", several Kevins are also on the site, proving that, indeed, there are only six people between you and him.

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