One is the sheer popularity of sites such as MySpace and Friendster. As those sites have expanded and become among the Internet’s most trafficked, some users and potential users have grown wary about exposing themselves to so many people. Some users would rather connect with people with whom they share common interests, such as hobbies or professional associations, other than knowing somebody who knows somebody who is listed as a MySpace friend.
Demand for more specific social networks, and the resulting targeted sites, is a natural outgrowth of MySpace and Friendster’s popularity, the inevitable reaction to when something gets too big? Leave for a smaller, more personal experience.
Dozens of such targeted sites have taken root in the past several years with varying degrees of success. Among the most popular is LinkedIn, a site with 9 million members focused on helping people further their career through professional networking.
Fuzzster is a social network for pet lovers; Yub is a site for shopaholics; Model Mayhem, a network for models and photographers; and Mog, a network for music lovers, as just some of the networks now catering to specific interests.
There are financial reasons fueling the targeting as well. Advertisers are expected to spend $1.9 billion on social networks by 2010, up from $280 million in 2006.