May 20, 2011

Niche Social Networks - The True Facebook Rivals?

We all know how dominant Facebook is. Good thing for us as users to have a place online we call “home” but kind of frustrating for rival networks as it is now almost impossible for them to create a network as big and powerful as Facebook. 

But we shouldn’t forget that a small business has the advantage of personalization and relevance. For example, a small business targeting male teenagers playing blues guitar has a greater potential in that segment than a big business targeting guitar players. That’s why Facebook’s dominance has forced rival networks to focus on niche interests. Sites like Air BnB and Patients Like Me have successfully followed this approach and were able to secure a niche relevant active network of users. Diaspora is another social network that allows you to share what you want with a smaller, more intimate network of users. Myspace is now trying to change its branding from being a social network to a social entertainment destination focusing on entertainment and music only. 

It's also worth noting that most social networks make their money through paid advertising, and a niche network is an advertiser's dream because it's a readymade target audience. For example, a social network for surfers would provide a good ad space for a company selling surfing boards. 

What do you think of niche social networks? Let me know in the comments below. 


  1. I think you are absolutely right, Tarek. I actually participate in a niche social network as well as Facebook: Brazen Careerist. The discussions are more focused and thus more interesting to me. What do you think about the nature of the relationships on these sites? Could they be more about the topics than a real world friendship.

  2. Relationships on niche networks are more interesting because you all share the passion or interest for the topic. Lets say I meet a girl on a social network for musicians and this girl has the same taste of music, we will easily connect and have a very interesting relationship. But I think at some point if we want to take this relationship to a more personal level, we will eventually connect on Facebook because this where all our real world friends are.
    So, bottom line i think niche networks are more interesting, Facebook is more personal.
    I'm on Brazen Careerist as well, lets hook up there and see how our relationship is going to be like :)

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