There are over 500,000 social networks today. This number is growing very fast. UtoldUs, just like other 500,000, has responded to the market readiness to embrace the concept of dynamic website with “social” features. Yes, this is how we define social network – it is nothing but a website that has functionality letting you communicate alternative to e-mail or in-person meeting. It is a new concept – as new as blog was 10 years ago.
We decided that there are enough people who want to take advantage of this concept and socialize on the topic of nightlife. When doing our research we also discovered that there are no social networks for professionals operating in a night life industry. So we decided to build UtoldUs. It was very expensive to build and when we were done, it was most natural to invite our best friends to join first. To our great surprise 90% of them didn’t join. Even after multiple invites they still didn’t join. In the meanwhile many of these friends were joining other niche social networks that their friends didn’t built and they were inviting us! Did this hurt? Yes it did. If you were to spend 8 months to build a store, let everyone know about it and then your best friends would never visit you, would it hurt?
We quickly learnt that people who were responding to invites or just finding UtoldUs on the Internet and joining were people who we had no personal relationships with at all. The least we knew the people, the more likely they joined. We also learnt that if we get mad on our friends for not joining we will have no friends. Perhaps it is just a simple human nature. Many of us have friends who own their own stores and service businesses but we still give business to their competitors because they suit our needs more.
We are quite curious and would love to hear your experiences with other social networks. It is still a new trend and it will take a while for it to become as established in everyone’s mind as blogs are today.