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Is Niche Social Ready to Break Out?

December 9, 2011

An ongoing theme in our work is the belief that Niche Social Networks (NSN) will soon gain traction as an alternative to the Grand Ballroom Parties at Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.  You can see prior posts here. I’ve recently discovered two compilations of NSN sites that appear to gaining user traction.  This post covers 13 sites.  While this site ismore comprehensive and ambitious.  Looking to catalog all NSN’s it currently includes hundreds across 78 categories.  From it’s purveyor:

It is amazing how quick niche social networks have grown. I am attempting to review, catalog, and monitor these sites. Below is an ever growing list of niche social networking sites. (I am including sites that are built on community building sites like Ning.)  Also I have included links to my review of these sites so you can help determine where you want to build a profile and participate. If there isn’t a review I just haven’t gotten to it yet… This list will be continually updated and tweaked.

I’m particularly interested in the sports-social space as LaunchPad has several projects incubating in this sector.   Sports buffs, recognize any of these?  Are there any others you might add?

velospace.org My Review of velospace.org
fannation.com My Review of fannation.com
takkle.com My Review of takkle.com
berecruited.com My Review of berecruited.com
sportsvite.com My Review of sportsvite.com
actionprofiles.com My Review of actionprofiles.com
sportsmates.com My Review of sportsmates.com
bikespace.net My Review of bikespace.net
thehuntzone.com My Review of thehuntzone.com
bleacherreport My Review of bleacherreport
bouldr My Review of bouldr
fanspot My Review of fanspot
golflink My Review of golflink
isporty My Review of isporty
LocalReplay My Review of LocalReplay
pickupgame My Review of pickupgame
urban tailgate My Review of urban tailgate
PreChamps My Review of PreChamps
Ruggerspace My Review of Ruggerspace

I would add one of my own that has recently launched into the mobile-social sporting event NSN space:  enthu.se.   And also add this one, playup.com, who appears to be pursuing a Pro-team “tribes” with a mobile app for banter and live score updates.  As I noted, LaunchPad is spending a great deal of time in the sports NSN space and see some very interesting trends developing.  Stay tuned and do share what you are finding out there!

But perhaps the greatest evidence that the NSN space is heating up can be found with this news item over the past 24 hours… in fact it hit my radar after I had started this post!  Edmodo, a NSN targeting the education space, yesterday announced that it was closing a $15mil series B round.  Click here to read more about these guys… a classic example of the execution of this NSN thesis.

Silicon Valley-style thinking about the power of online networks has transformed how people communicate and collaborate both in their personal lives, through sites like Facebook, and in their professional ones, through services like Yammer and Podio. Now a couple of Silicon Valley bigwigs are turning their attention to the world of education–the thinking being that the things they’ve learned about the power of network effects can transform K12 education and make it more vibrant, effective, and engaging. Edmodo is social network for teachers and students that was founded in 2008 by two Chicago area IT professionals who had worked in school systems and seen how teachers struggled to bring digital materials into their classrooms. Today, the company is announcing that Silicon Valley powerhouses Greylock Ventures and Benchmark Capital are investing $15 million into the company in a Series B round of funding.  -Read more

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