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Caveats about starting a social networking site?

Discussion in 'Social Networks' started by Camus, Jan 2, 2007.

  1. #1
    Happy new year everyone!

    A friend and I have thought of an idea for a niche-based social networking site.

    The niche is a fairly large one, yet there are no forums or social network sites for the topic.

    We are in the process of arguing about, haha :D , I mean deciding the domain name and are considering going with PHPfox for the s/w.

    My question is: Does anyone have some particular advice in regards to this type of venture? I assume that once the domain and site have been setup the biggest challenge will be promoting the site and attracting members.

    Please feel free to chime in with any of your own experiences or suggestions. Thanks! :)
    SEMrush
     
    Camus, Jan 2, 2007 IP
    SEMrush
  2. longroad

    longroad Well-Known Member

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    #2
    If there is no forum for it, it can't be that large a niche?
    Or perhaps not an internet savvy niche?

    Do you think people in this niche would be interested in a social networking website?
     
    longroad, Jan 3, 2007 IP
  3. kh7

    kh7 Peon

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    #3
    I think it really does depend on your gut-feeling on this. Is the niche empty because nobody is interested, or is it empty because nobody has thought of doing it yet? There are still niches out there just waiting to be filled with good content. Personally I'd start the forum (that's not that hard, after all), get it links from relevant sites - which ought to be easy if the niche is really just waiting for the forum to come about - make sure it is active and then later, when the forum is active see about the social networking part of it. Getting a social network off the ground seems harder to me then getting a forum off the ground, so I'd start with the forum. Then just expand on the forum options until its a network without people even realizing it. (I mean: allow users to have the same login as in the forum, that sort of thing).
     
    kh7, Jan 3, 2007 IP
  4. Camus

    Camus Well-Known Member

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    #4
    Thank you. You raise very good points.

    There are a couple tiny forums but they aren't true forums - more like blogs/articles with comments but titled as a forum. And there is, in fact, one semi-social networking site (really more for sales than a true social network) for the niche but it is not U.S.-based and it actually a subsite/subdomain of a larger organization.

    The industry is in a state of change right now and we believe it is the right time to start a social networking site and build a brand in this niche. Whether or not we could get the site to go "viral" is the big question.

    Having said that, I've seen many membership/social networking sites that, despite seeming like a good idea and having good designs/features, just don't seem to be doing all that well. For example, a site that has been around for a few years and seems like a great idea to me, Who Is In Town, seems to be floundering.

    Any other insights into why a social networking site succeeds or fails?
     
    Camus, Jan 3, 2007 IP
  5. Camus

    Camus Well-Known Member

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    #5
    Interesting - I hadn't thought of just trying a forum first - thanks for the input.
     
    Camus, Jan 3, 2007 IP
  6. kh7

    kh7 Peon

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    #6
    Social networking is really about getting a community into place. You need to be able to get a lot of people interested fast. Make sure the people who do sign up quick will be interested enough to log in often and invite friends. A way to do this is to advertise aggressively, have news often, have something to offer often etc. Starting a forum is itself a way of creating community. But with a few fora already up, that may be difficult.
     
    kh7, Jan 3, 2007 IP
    checksum likes this.