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    6 Replies Latest reply on Mar 18, 2008 3:45 PM by RickFelten

    Starting a Social networking site

    LouisRoyal Newbie

      Me & my brothers have came up with an great idea to open a new social-networking company.
      The website would be an innovative online community networks that help users find quality people, who are keen to know about each other. The community network connects like-minded people, sharing their common interests and backgrounds. users would join groups, where thy can find the immediate relevance to their lives and interests. The success of the sites, such as, MySpace, Myyearbook and Tagged has been overwhelming.

       


      The idea was seed provides the right social network software tools for the members to communicate and make new friends. It would preferably have the features of emailing, blogging, instant messaging, and a space for Our member profile and we also have came up wit new ideas like Store, Blogs, Invites, Match, Live Chat, Game, TV, Music, Film, Comedy (ect) . We have done a lot of research in order to find out the social networking software that We are going to use. also Research what could be added to our community software, so that the network site that we want to start is different from the others, offering services which would attract more and more people to our web site.

      I would like to know where can i get an investor or loan to start the company?
        • Re: Starting a Social networking site
          derek.liberty Newbie
          This will not directly answer your question, but I think it may help you out. Also, I am not trying to discourage you. I myself have been working on a new music service. This service is not a full blown social networking site, but a music service with some social networking features. At the begining, I was in the same boat as you, I had a great idea, so I wanted to go out and look for funding to get it started. After several failed attempts at loans and not much interest with investors I realized that an idea, no matter how good it is, is still just an idea. In fact, thousands of other people may have even had the same idea as me. The thing that is going to set your idea apart from everyone else's is execution. So, while I cannot give you a roadmap on where to go with your website, I can suggest a few ways to get started. First, an online social networking site that does not work, has not value. So if you screw up, the investors/banks have no way of getting their money back. This makes it a higher risk than say someone opening a hardware store (where they can sell left over inventory). You will also find out, much like I did, that the execution of your idea is much harder to accomplish that you probably think. I have already spent thousands of hours discussing how our site will work, what will bring people to our site, etc. You will also run into road blocks along the way, some that may really scare you.

          Anyway, I decided to start out small, that way i didnt have to worry about paying off investors or banks and could focus on what mattered. I found a local web designer that like the idea and was willing to work for cheap. I ended up paying him around $3000 to develop the site instead of the $60,000 I was quoted at a big web designer.

          Now that I have a functional website, I can start to build interest. Then I can go to banks and investors and tell them that i have a website that has 5000 users and makes $$ per year.

          Anyway, this kinda turned into a ramble, but I would suggest you sit down and really take a close look at your idea. If you think the idea will really work, then try to think how the investors are going to think (money, money, money). Then determine what you need to do to show that you will bring in some money, and do it.

          Hope this helped,
          Derek
          1 of 1 people found this helpful
            • Re: Starting a Social networking site
              grantsforce Adventurer
              Derek - thanks for sharing your experience. May I ask why you say it turned into a ramble? Your experience will help many people (I know there are some students too attempting to make a breakthrough in this area).
                • Re: Starting a Social networking site
                  derek.liberty Newbie
                  It felt like a ramble because I was getting off the topic of his question (not that i was ever on topic).

                  If there are several others attemping this kind of thing, then let me add a few points.

                  For starters, social networking is now everywhere. It really is the new big thing. This is going to make it hard to break into this area. The first thing a lot of people think is "wow, look how popular Facebook and Myspace are, if I could only get half that many people, It would be huge". The problem is that everybody else is thinking this same thing. Let's face it, you are not the only one trying to get rich off the internet. This leads up to my first point, if you think you have a new, great idea, do a ton of research to see what else it out there. You may find that there are other sites trying to do the same things you were thinking. This does not mean that you should quit working on your idea, but you might want to look at the sites you found to see where they are doing well, and what they need to improve on. When I did research for my website, I found many sites that offered some of the same features that I was planning on offering. This did not mean that i should not offer them, but that i could use them to improve my own ideas.

                  After you have done a lot of research (and that means hours or days, not minutes). You can start to spend some good time constructing your website. In the Social networking area, i believe you really need to do good research. I am willing to bet there are thousands of social networking sites out there, with only mediocre interest. You may find that the only way to attract interest is to try something totally new (which I did on my own website). Myspace and facebook were basically "the first to market" that did enough right to generate lots of attention. It is like the ipod, there are a lot of mp3 players that offer more features and are less expensive than the ipod, but the ipod was first to market with a product that was good enough (not to mention marketing), and that is a big advantage.

                  I guess to kind of sum this up, I would say that you probably need to have a pretty awesome idea to break into social networking. I say this because even college students only have so much time in a day to social network, and to quote my fiance "A social networking site, don't we have enough of those".

                  Again, not to discourage anyone, and I hope this helps.

                  Derek
                  1 of 1 people found this helpful
              • Re: Starting a Social networking site
                poloi3eai2 Wayfarer
                You need to think of a competitive advantage over Myspace and Facebook. All the features you mentioned are already on Myspace and Facebook. Why would someone want to join your site instead of Myspace and Facebook that has millions of members and all the features you've mentioned? If someone simply wants to make friends they'll just join Myspace because they have the most members so their chances of making friends is greater. People like Facebook because it gives them more privacy. You dont get tons of band invitations or spam comments. The only people that can communicate with you are your preapproved friends. Random people can't see your Facebook page without your friend approval first. But people like Myspace because your page is totally customizable. You can write your own HTML and change the layout of your page to however you want. Instead of appealing to EVERYBODY which Myspace has already done try and focus on one market. Like a social networking site for kids that keeps them safe from online predators and gives parents control of what they do on the site. Or a social networking site for church groups or more geared for adults that dont want to be associated with the kiddiness of Myspace.
                • Re: Starting a Social networking site
                  designer Tracker
                  Hello. I would never ever want to discourage anyone from moving forward on an idea, but I would like to share with you how I feel about the social networking craze. A friend of mine asked me to join Linked In last year and I just went ahead and accepted the invite because he was a very trusted source for a connection. I left it alone for awhile and then in 2008, 2 more friends asked me to accept their invitation. So, I went ahead and started to warm up to Linked In because I felt there must be something about it that my friends were inviting me. I now use it as a tool to help promote and support my web site and career and it is fun to network and grow and it has lead to some very excellent leads and opportunities.

                  Now, here is the down-side. There are about 75 or 100 more people I know really well and they just want no part of Linked In. Or, they don't accept my invitations because they are keeping their circle of connections strictly IT related or very focused on a particular field. In addition, I can't even get my brothers or some relatives to join. My one brother says the less information on the Internet about a person, the better. My other brother says if he's on Linked In his boss will accuse him of looking into possibly getting another job, so he shys away from it. So, I give up trying to persuade them. So many people when they get my Linked In invitation email me back to say "What is this"? or "sure", but then they don't know to click on the link and officially accept the invite and then work on a profile. So, I just feel like a big chunk or core of my trusted contacts really have no interest in social networking on-line, which is sad and I did want to pass this along.

                  Now, I know you are not asking for feedback specifically on Linked In, because you have some ideas of your own site....but I am getting to some other points about social networking.

                  1. For me, I am an all or nothing kind of guy. I do one thing well or I don't do it at all. By this I mean...I am comitted to Linked In now. I have been asked to join Tagged, MySpace and Pulse and I just ignore the requests. I also don't like MySpace. I feel MySpace is for teens and people that are not business-minded. MySpace seems to also have a lot of negative media related stories attached to it. It's more of a popularity site in my opinion, too. But, I like Linked In very much because it has a professional flair and as a career minded person and business person, Linked In seems to work well for me. So, the bottom line for me is that I don't want to be spread around all over the place on different social networks. You'd have to have something really cool and unique why I'd want to join your social networking site. I give you this info. so it can help you consider people all in the same boat as I am.

                  2. You have some great ideas about instant-messaging, etc. and many people might like that, but I don't like instant messaging. I have to be honest. When I get on my computer and I am busy with my web site, I don't have the time really to pause and start instant-messaging people. I have to be in control of my time and when I have a mission in the evening to do this and that, I make sure I finish my tasks. So, I just wanted to mention.

                  I hope this is somewhat helpful. I probably should offer some things that I am looking for in a social networking site and all I can think of is if the site had "conventions" in major cities so that you can actually go and meet people in person with name badges on and exchange business cards and invite each other to connect on the site that way. I am not sure if Linked In has this or not? But, it can be the difference your site can offer - - -the opportunity to get out and network and increase connections, just doing it on-line very slowly.
                  1 of 1 people found this helpful
                  • Re: Starting a Social networking site
                    RickFelten Adventurer
                    First, I too wish you all the best in your new and exciting opportunity.

                    If this is just a hobby or something fun to do, you will have a great time with it. If you are going to try and make a profit, here are some thoughts.

                    1. Keep the focus narrow. Your "customers" will stay active as long as you have something to offer within their sphere of desires. Advertisers want a "captive" audience through which to market their products/services. They may not want to pay to have another ad that people have seen on another similar site. True, they look for market segmentation, but if the market is diluted they will tend to stay with existing sites.

                    2. Move fast. I just saw a site created by Capital One that is similar to this one. The quicker you stake-out a niche the better your odds of success.

                    3. Be agile. After your site is up & operational, see what other innovations your customers & advertisers want. Make changes that are good for them and don't be afraid to be innovative. You've got to stay a step ahead in this market which is rapidly becoming flooded.

                    Hope this helps.