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online dating market – down in US, up in EU

By on Feb 13, 2006 in online dating | 1 comment

isJupiter Research has released the results of two studies of the online dating industry. While the online dating market in the US appears to have saturated, with the value of the market actually declining by 1% in 2005, the European market increased by 43% in 2005. That’s less than in 2004, when the European online dating market increased by 80%, but there is still significant room for growth: whilst in America 20% of internet users used dating sites, only 4% in Europe did. The author of the studies told BBC News Online that social networking and community sites like myspace "don’t have the tools or the right audience" to help people find a date (Instead, he points to high subscription charges as the key barrier to users becoming members.) Really?! So posting a photo, having a profile, joining groups and finding other users who share your interests, making friends, meeting up with other users, etc – none of that helps people find a date? Sure, it doesn’t say "online dating" at the top of myspace or flickr or craigslist but the tools are there and surely people are using them. No matter how many times we hear about a couple meeting on an online dating website, or read industry press releases telling us how normal it is to meet on one, the fact of the matter is that many still feel there is a stigma attached to online dating sites. Less so for online community and social networking sites where dating does happen but more discreetly – and it’s those users who aren’t quite sure about online dating, but who are at ease with sharing content and being a part of online communities, that dating sites need to attract to continue the market growth of recent...

nielsonnetratings research: popularity of community sites

By on Feb 13, 2006 in online community |

Recently published research by Nielsen/NetRatings suggest that over half the UK internet population visits "online member communities" in any given month. Friends Reunited comes top of the list, followed by Blogger, Bebo, MySpace and Genes Reunited. I reckon the list doesn’t give as clear a picture as it could because many online communities are likely to fall outside Nielsen’s definition of "member communities" – for example the BBC or some of the football club websites. The research also probably misses sites like gumtree which have, so far, fallen beneath the radar of most studies like this but which are hugely popular. Still, it might come in useful if you’re trying to sell online community to client to be able to tell them that almost 1.8 billion community content pages were served up in the UK each month – that’s 57 million a day (equal to one per member of...

craigslist accused of violating housing laws

By on Feb 13, 2006 in law | 1 comment

A federal lawsuit filed in Chicago last week accuses the online site Craigslist of violating fair housing laws by publishing discriminatory classified ads. The lawsuit, filed by a group of lawyers working to enforce and gain awareness for civil rights, alleges that Craigslist broke the law by publishing 100 ads that violated the federal Fair Housing Act. The ads are said to exclude prospective buyers or tenants on the basis of race, gender or religion. According to CNN, several Internet law experts said the suit seems likely to fail, citing a 1996 federal law that says an online service provider isn’t considered a publisher or a speaker when it merely passes along information provided by someone else.

free flickr pro account – reminder

By on Feb 10, 2006 in Uncategorized |

Just a reminder that I’m giving away a free flickr pro account to a cybersoc.com reader on Valentines day. Yes, it really truly is free and you have to do almost nothing at all for your chance to win. I, on the other hand, have to write all the names of entrants on little bits of paper, put those names into a hat or other suitable receptical, shake vigorously, blindfold myself, then choose a lucky winner without losing my balance and falling over. All that effort just to make one person very happy and a whole bunch of other people really sad… Full details here but you don’t have long to enter!

seen a BBC dj on myspace recently?

By on Feb 10, 2006 in BBC, online community, social software | 4 comments

A colleague of mine pointed out that several of the BBC’s Radio One DJ’s (including Jo Whiley, Chris Moyles, Huw Stephens, and Bethan Elfyn) have profiles on myspace. Ok, so the comments on their profiles look a bit like billboards due to all the advertisements, but using third party services in this way is an interesting experiment. Micro-managing user generated content, and providing platforms for it, is horrendously expensive and is rapidly becoming unsustainable for many media organisations. Using third party services, like myspace, or simply linking to groups created by users of services, could allow media organisations to continue to engage with their audiences without the cost and risks of moderation, discussion hosting, development time, bandwidth, etc. But, as the screenshot of a comment from Jo Whiley’s myspace profile demonstrates, there are risks too. The user who commented is joking but what if she wasn’t? Who, if anyone, would owe her a duty of care? How would they discharge that duty of care? There are other problems too – who, for example, owns the myspace profiles above? Who is ultimately responsible for them? These are just some of the issues that any organisation seeking to offload their user communities onto third party services will need to figure out. (Update: A page purporting to be that of Chris Moyles, which was set up by a unknown person or persons, was redirected earlier today to a porn site....