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Summary:

Wasabi, the social network formerly called Passado and whose owner is suing to claim ownership of Russia’s leading social network, will offe…

Wasabi, the social network formerly called Passado and whose owner is suing to claim ownership of Russia’s leading social network, will offer its core infrastructure to companies on a white-label basis, as it seeks an additional revenue stream in the face of competition and stuttering social media ad growth. Like Ning, Webjam, KickApps and SocialGO before it, Wasabi White Label will let users create their own rudimentary social networks for free; Wasabi will keep income from ads on the sites or users can take out a premium option to remove the ads – we understand Wasabi will name an ad network partner in the next two weeks.

With social network ad spend failing to meet forecasts (see eMarketer) and the bigger networks like Facebook squeezing out relatively small sites like Wasabi, it’s unsurprising such sites will seek new alternative business models to stay afloat in ’09, in this case by renting out the core technology. But Wasabi’s offering launches in to a market already populated by the above rivals.

Launched as school-centric Passado in the wake of Friends Reunited in 2002, the multi-lingual site claimed to be the top pan-European social network by 2004, with 4.5 million users. But larger rivals have overtaken it and owner i-CD is now smarting from the success of one such in Russia. It’s suing former director Albert Popkov, whom it accuses of founding the country’s top social network Odnoklassniki.ru while still working for the firm in 2006, a claim he strongly denies but which is due to be heard in court later this year.

Adding a white label string to your bow sounds like a good plan, but Wasabi may find that the biggest and most profitable businesses already have all the social networking capabilities they want, or need.

  1. Looks interesting, but I would be a little affraid what would happen, if they shut down their free service – you would loose all your users then?

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  2. For the ability to monetize your own social network, I think socialgo is looking like it will be the number one choice

    The reason for this, is that they have tools that allow membership billing.

    This feature means that you don't just have to go for ad revenue as your one and only route to making an income from your network. The other very important thing about socialgo, is that you own all of the data and can download it all in a usable format so you can back it up and if you ever want to transfer it to a different network generator, then you can. That is crucial, imo

    When it's out of beta, I'll be incorporating a socialgo powered network into one of my online casino portals that focussed on US online casinos – finding bonus offers for online slots and giving players online casino reviews. So, it's quite basic as it stands and there is no interaction between regular visitors. However, I could imagine members chatting to each-other about what casinos are out there, which ones they like (or don't like), publishing screenshots and videos of the games etc. The members could even chat with each other about online casinos using socialgo's live video chat feature. I think that would be superb.

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  3. Interesting move. It will be good to see how many social networking portals takes this route to keep afloat.

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