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Social Networks Roundup: MySpaces for the Fashionable, the Parental, and the Virtual

If you think people aren’t posing enough in MySpace, have we got a social network for you. According to Reuters, British fashion designers John Galliano and Vivienne Westwood have used London Fashion Week to launch IQONS, a social network for aspiring models, designers, and people who like to look at them. The Reuters piece doesn’t mention it, but Westwood was a peripheral figure around the Sex Pistols in the ’70s, and the site has a bit of a DIY mentality. The most popular fashion blogs on the net tend to be the most idiosycnratic yet simple (i.e., The Sartorialist); we’ll see if a site intended to feature many competing voices and approaches can capture that.

Unfazed by the lukewarm response its sort-of competitor Eons has received, we see the launch of Cozi Central, a social marketing service for parents that promises “freee software for busy families.” Business 2.0 says “Cozi founders Robbie Cape and Jan Miksovsky (the pair behind Microsoft Money) figure the time is right for a digital command center that allows families to connect and share information the way MySpace users do.” The piece concludes, “It’s not a novel business model – but given the market size [50 million households], it may be irresistible.” Er, irresistible to whom? On a similar note, family-oriented social network Famster graduated from beta yesterday (Release).

And let’s not forget Second Life, the MySpace for virtual people. Hollywood Reporter has a lengthy, balanced look at why Hollywood is “hot” for the service, Editor & Publisher explores how journalists are faring inside the virtual world, and on Valleywag you can read Clay Shirky’s latest attack on how Linden Lab is reporting its in-world population series. Shirky would be even more outraged if he had to read this from the E&P article: “Those who wish to reach a sizable audience within Second Life need to ‘learn to think of communication as visual, experiential and in 360-degrees, rather than as flat, printed content.'” What?

5 Responses to “Social Networks Roundup: MySpaces for the Fashionable, the Parental, and the Virtual”

  1. Just because VCs are willing to throw money at something doesn't mean that the reception it's getting from end-users is great. If Jeff has six up-front advertising commitments at $5 million a pop, why has he blown through two rounds of funding in such a short period of time and already raising a third? That's $30 million in revenue apparently commited so why would he need to deal with VCs? He certainly has his own money and if there are really solid commitments for that type of money, alternative (non-equity) financing would be viable (and a lot cheaper to existing shareholders, Jeff included).

    Bottom line is that few founders are going to sound anything but upbeat about their companies (especially when raising a round). Baby boomers are a lucrative demographic and IF he can deliver an audience there's no doubt the potential is there. I suspect that there are advertisers interested contingent upon him getting that audience. That's not a solid commitment, so he would need to go back to the funding trough to raise more money to spend on advertising.

    The funniest thing about Eons is that it's designed for people 50 and over and Jeff Taylor isn't in that group. As an investor, you have to think twice about funding a niche business where the founder isn't actually a part of the niche. Is that a requirement for success? No, but if I'm putting a few million into a fashion business, for instance, I'd like to know that the founder has some deep experience in that industry.

  2. Jeff Taylor, the founder of EONS, was at We Media Miami last week and was very upbeat about the reception that his new site is getting. Taylor said that he has six upfront advertising commitments at $5 million a pop, and he is closing on a round of financing. Although he expressed some frustrations with the VC world (and who doesn't, myself included), it didn't sound like he was getting a lukewarm response to me.