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Summary:

Ted Rheingold, founder and CEO of Dogster, a niche social network, dropped by in our office recently to give us an update on his company. He talked dollars and sense along with offering me tips on what dog I should get. Highlights from our video interview.

Ted Rheingold, CEO Dogster by Joi Ito via FlickrIt was four years ago, when I first met Ted Rheingold. He had just started a company called Dogster, an early example of a niche social network that was growing pretty rapidly. At that time, it had about 200,000 registered users and gotten $1 million in investment from an impressive list of angel investors that included del.icio.us founder Joshua Schachter, Aydin Senkut, Brad Feld, and Jeff Clavier.

Over the next few years, social networks grew like weeds, and not surprisingly, like weeds, were eventually weeded out, bolstering my argument that social networking was merely a feature. First MySpace, then Facebook and more recently Twitter started to dominate, and some of the niche networks simply faded away.

Dogster, too, dropped out of the bright lights, only to be replaced by other shinier start-ups. I often wondered how the company was doing, and recently decided to catch up with Rheingold. In this video interview he gives us a sense of the state of his company. Here are some highlights from the interview:

* Dogster (and its sister site Catster) have over a million dog and cat profiles (or roughly a million registered users.)

* The Dogster network of sites gets 1.5 million unique visitors every month and generates about 15 million pages.

* The company logged sales of  around $3 million in revenues. It has 14 employees and the company is now profitable. It has about $500,000 in earnings in 2009.

In the interview, I ask why Dogster didn’t come up with a snuggie for dogs, or why didn’t he create Dog town, an equivalent of the super-popular social game, Farmville. Ted also gives me advice on what kind of dog to get.

Photo of Ted Rheingold courtesy of Joi Ito via Flickr.

By Om Malik
  1. These kind of stories are really inspiring. Despite so many big boys coming up in social networking arena, nice networks like Dogster are still surviving.

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