"No more social networks!" cry those with the cash
It seems that every other day there’s a new social network — or at least, new to me — and I’m left wondering just how many more social networks the world can cope with.
Seems like those with a lot of money (i.e. not me) to invest in such businesses agree, if the consensus at the Dow Jones Web Ventures conference this week is anything to go by.
“If I see another business plan for a social network, I might blow my brains out,” Barry Schuler, managing director of Draper Fisher Jurvetson, said during a panel discussion this week.
Is the mental image of venture capitalists committing suicide in gruesome ways enough to stop web developers rolling out yet more ways to connect with people you’ve never met and share too much information about yourself?
Probably not, but we can hope.
Of course, everyone seems to want to develop niche networks now. Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, and the like are all very well, but how can they possibly get to the same personal level as Starbucks’ new network (for caffeine junkies, presumably), or dancers, dieters, shoppers, or even the terminally ill… no really.
VCs already think that the market is saturated, and that consumers simply won’t want to keep adding their details to a score of new sites. Presumably the big three will be very happy about that.
(Via CNet News)
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I fully share Randy’s view. Niche will be the way to go and to that end there could be any number of social networks.
I also find it surprising that the investment community already thinks every niche has been filled, because when researching for the launch of WeCanDo.BIZ I could find any hardly that were focused towards the needs of businesses, using social graphs to extend your customer reach. Perhaps these guys are not thinking straight or just don’t see how businesses could benefit from a medium that allows your profile to be pushed out to all your network’s contacts…?
I think the growth will be in the use of smaller, more focused, niche social networks that cater to a particular interest, hobby or vocation. These smaller sites will allow like-minded individuals and groups to connect, exchange ideas and receive genuine and useful support.
These kinds of sites will also be attractive to advertisers as they get targeted demographics to spend their online advertising budgets on.
Thanks to sites such as ning, anyone can start a niche social network about anything. There’s also a search engine to help find niche social networks that lists thousands of networks for a whole range of subjects, http://findasocialnetwork.com