MySpace co-owner Justin Timberlake is at the forefront of a brand relaunch for the site.(Photo: Ethan Miller Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO -- The great white whale of social networks just topped
1 billion members, yet Facebook is getting even more competitive
Three more contenders surfaced last week in attempts to
take a nibble out of Facebook, whose broad audience and services may not
appeal to consumers interested in specialized content.
CyPop launched, and Myspace made its comeback. Each promises a unique
approach to social networking. But some analysts fear the proliferation
of such sites could end in them cannibalizing each other.
a method to the madness of small companies attacking Facebook's flanks,
media experts say. The social-networking giant may find itself in the
same predicament as TV networks, Internet portals and general-interest
magazines: too big, and susceptible to narrower, special-interest media.
social networks won't force Facebook out of business, but they could
cut into the amount of time people spend on Facebook," says Jeff
Lillibridge, vice president of social media at digital-marketing firm
The trio of new entrants join a long list including
photo-rich Pinterest; Path, a tight-ringed place for close friends;
ArtStack for art purists; Luluvise for women; SportsYapper and Heckler
Sports for fans; and Viddy for video.
Pheed lets users share
texts, photos, videos, voice notes, audio clips and live broadcasts.
"On Pheed, you express yourself," says OD Kobo, CEO of Pheed. "The Web
is not only about my friends."
CyPop connects people through their
common interests, such as yoga, rather than the virtual circles of
friends and family that make up most social-networking sites.
old mainstay, Myspace, now co-owned by Justin Timberlake, has been
re-positioned as a social network for artists and their fans.
the rise of small, focused social networks, Facebook and its 1 billion
members remain in an enviable position, says Sameer Patel, general
manager of enterprise social software at SAP.
Americans spent an
average of nearly seven hours on Facebook in August -- more than three
times the runner-up, Yahoo -- according to Nielsen.
"Big is OK,"
Patel says. "Facebook is the formidable, unified identity of social
networking. They are most people's main base, and secondary social
networks complement them nicely."
But the glut of new
social-media networks could overwhelm consumers and turn into media
overload, says Esteban Kolsky, founder of ThinkJar, an advisory service
for customer strategies.
"There are too many, and none have shown value yet," Kolsky says.
is only so much consumers can absorb," Kobo adds. "They can't do all
their social-media tasks across several services. Who has time?"