Personal Contact Management Websites
MySpace is the most popular social networking website and, according to Alexa, the sixth most visited website on the Internet today. With over 185 million user accounts, MySpace has become well-traversed by Netizens of all ages, genders, and other demographics. In addition to connecting to existing friends and relatives, the social networking website has also become a means for networking. Due to its enormous user base and overall high visitor count, MySpace has become a major target for spammers trying to reach a large audience.
Orkut, a social networking website owned and operated by Google, is one of the most visited of its kind, second only to MySpace. Furthermore, Orkut is the eighth most visited websites worldwide. According to the website, the service “makes it easy to find people who share your hobbies and interests, look for romantic connections or establish new business contacts.” Furthermore, Orkut enables community creation for persons sharing common interests, promoting online discussion in a forum-like manner.
Hi5 is another popular social networking website with over 50 million members around the world, ranking as the 15th most visited website globally. As stated by Hi5 Networks, this service allows members to find friends and content by providing “a platform for established artists, underground talent, and everyday people to all gain prominence amongst a worldwide audience.” Data Junkie demonstrates Hi5’s dominance in more countries than any other major social networking service, including Columbia, Ecuador, Portugal, and 12 others.
Yet another popular social networking service that continues to gain traction is Facebook. Facebook, which is currently ranked immediately behind Hi5 as the 16th most visited website, originated as a way for college students to connect. The service eventually expanded to include high school students and is now available for anyone to join. Facebook includes a custom API that allows third party developers to create unique applications for use within the site, differentiating Facebook from any other social network service online today.
Prior to the inception of MySpace, Friendster was considered the top social networking service on the Web. Friendster has since lost traction to MySpace and Facebook and has more recently faced the same difficulty from competitor Hi5. Despite the fierce competition, Friendster persists as a strong network and is home to more than 45 million members. Friendster’s primary focus is helping people to connect with friends, family, classmates, and persons sharing similar interests.
Business Networking Websites
LinkedIn is an online network of over 11 million professionals from around the world in 150 industries. Ranking as the 164th most visited website worldwide, the service simplifies the process of maintaining existing first-degree connections, while making it easy to form new relationships via second-degree connections. Reconnecting with professionals is as easy as typing in their e-mail addresses (if known) or other personal information to perform a look-up. Locating connections can also be performed by viewing employees and former employees listed under any businesses you worked for.
XING, previously known as OpenBC (Open Business Club), assists professionals with establishing networks internationally. The majority of XING’s 2 million-plus members — approximately 57% — are from Germany, with the second largest user base being Spanish. Unlike LinkedIn, which is free for all users, XING’s free access is limited to features such as personal profiles, discussions groups, and event coordination. A monthly paid membership is required for several additional features, such as messaging persons to whom you are not directly connected.
Ecademy is a social network for business professionals with over 150,000 members worldwide. Over 60% of the members are located in the U.K., with the U.S. representing the second largest user base at nearly 10% of total users. Like XING, Ecademy includes both a free basic membership and a paid premier membership. According to Information World Review, the premier membership is required for access to create clubs or to view personal business introductions and private meetings.
Social networking website Ryze claims to have over 250,000 members — nearly twice that of Ecademy — despite its Alexa traffic rank being half as good as Ecademy’s. The majority of its users are from the U.S. and India at about 49% and 21% of total user respectively. Like Ecademy, Ryze is free to join but includes the option of paying for a gold membership. This membership option includes advanced search functionality and the ability to set up industry- and geographic-specific groups.
Zaadz was created in 2006 and has been growing strongly since its inception. According to Swivel, Zaadz had over 36,000 users as of February, and the website currently ranks in the 12,000’s in traffic. About half the users are from the U.S. with another 12% of the users residing within the U.K. and Canada.
Doostang is an invite-only professional social network that started in 2005. Invitations to join Doostang are provided by existing members in the site. The reasoning behind Doostang’s process of accepting new users relates to the goal of the website in conjunction with process in which they Doostang’s founders believe professional connections occur. Because many jobs are fulfilled by networking through friends and existing connections, the site only allows new users to join by accepting invitations from connections they have who already possess accounts. Doostang has over 125,000 members, over 70% of which are located in the U.S.
Cultural Trends Networking Websites
From the Buzznet website: “Buzznet distinguishes itself from traditional social networks that are focused on profile pages and communication tools, by enabling Web users to interact with and create dynamic multimedia communities around the pop culture and music topics they are most passionate about.” Buzznet has become a very popular site, ranked 713 in traffic worldwide with over 6 million total member accounts. With various significant members of today’s pop culture being represented on Buzznet, this service offers the opportunity to learn what interests today’s youth.
Twitter is a unique service that enables users to set a status message relating to what they’re doing, which can be read by connected friends. By keeping track of the status of others, it’s possible to learn about current trends that friends have already learned about. However, connecting to friends — personal or online — is a necessary step in making Twitter a valuable resource.
14. 43 Things
43 Things offers the same potential from a business perspective as is offered by Twitter. 43 Things allows members to provide their life goals, which are listed on the website. Although many of the goals are commonplace such as “lose weight” and “fall in love”, there are occasional goals mixed in that may offer some insight and inspiration regarding current happenings around the Web. Several examples include “learn how to make a layout” and “become a better photographer“.
StumbleUpon offers a unique service by which a user is directed to a random website within a specified niche through the use of a toolbar. Stumbling unto web pages previous undiscovered have the potential of offering inspiration for writing topics otherwise unconsidered. In addition to Stumbling, the StumbleUpon website provides member profiles, which can be used to find users who have similar interests.