Mobloco beta just launched. It seems to have flown in under the radar. I suspect it being based far away from Silicon Valley -- Atlanta -- and taking itself seriously as a money business rather than a sellout exit strategy venture desperate for Web2.0 buzz has a lot to do with it.
Once you get past the Afrocentricity -- developed by an "African-American tech firm" and presumably targeted at an African-American audience -- you see a rather innovative and well-marketed combination of events listing, social networking and mobile. Mobloco allows users to find, list and tag events like they can on Zvents, Eventful, Upcoming, etc but here the user subscribes her mobile number upfront to receive alerts of events. Instead of relying on the user to come back to check events -- I haven't checked eventful, zvents, or upcoming in weeks -- mobloco pushes a stream of event alerts to the user. The Mobloco user is constantly reminded of the relationship. Of course she can be so annoyed that she cancels the alerts or her membership altogether but more likely if Mobloco targets the active social user and she learns to set her preferences to shape her stream, the relationship is much stronger than the passive type that relies on the user to return to a website.
Mobloco also adds social networking to the mix: "The site connects consumers by allowing them to also create and send text messages to approved friends, create alerts, view profiles, and search for people or happenings based on their geographical location or user specified search criteria." I haven't had a chance to test the implementation out yet, but I think the marketing focus could work. Judging from their marketing, sports events such as NBA basketball games and concerts such as Mariah Carey are the target events. If attention can be focused on these big local events, it's a lot easier to induce a critical mass of social activity around them. For example, if I look at upcoming.org music events for New York City, I don't see any Madison Square Garden events listed. Dunno why. The biggest musical events are like Explosions in the Sky playing at the Warsaw that draws the attention of 14 members. Where are the Madison Square Garden events? If you could get the attention of 140 people on a given event, then you might catalyze some real social interaction, eg messaging or note sending between members.
I think of one more reason why Friendster failed -- of course due to their inability to serve pages -- was their capping the number of friends of any account to 500. While people celebrate the fat tail, I believe a social network requires the power law spiking accounts -- profiles with thousands or hundreds of thousands of "friends" -- to draw the activity for the less popular accounts in the tail. Unpopular books would sell much less well if Barnes and Noble or Borders took the bestsellers -- and the foot traffic that comes to buy them -- out of the stores. So if a Mariah Carey concert gets 140 or 1400 people to interact through a social service, they and those on the sidelines will see the site as a more social place. Don't know why upcoming.org limits itself that way.
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Monday, January 22nd, 2007 and is filed under mobile, social networking.
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