Niche social networks

As Facebook powers towards a billion users, we'll see an increase in smaller, more specialist communities

1. Social discovery
2. Curation
3. Social commerce
4. Gamification
5. Crowdsourcing and categorisation
6. Freemium and subscription models
7. Niche social networks
8. Location-based apps
9. APIs
10. Customisation

There are only so many general social networks people are willing to devote their time and energy to. However, we’ve noticed a surge in smaller, more specialist social networks, where likeminded people can meet and share advice.

From an advertiser’s perspective, this creates a highly targeted and captive audience – a community of people interested in their products or services.

Launched last year, Tribesports is a social network for sports enthusiasts, where people who are passionate about sports can share tips and advice on training and equipment, and motivate each other. The business makes money through affiliate advertising, earning a commission for referring sales of sports equipment to retailers, as well as subtle targeted advertising and sponsorship.

Meanwhile, Luluvise is a new social network where young women can network with their ‘inner circle’ of friends. While the site has courted controversy through some of its features, such as the ability to ‘rate’ men based on their sexual performance, the basic idea behind it (a place where busy young women can connect with their closest friends easily and privately) has proved comelling enough to secure $1m in funding from esteemed investors such as Passion Capital and PROFounders.

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