UNION LEADER -- Oct 25 -- Social networking may be a close cousin of online dating, but it is much more low-key - attracting a totally different demographic. More online dating sites may be moving toward social networking as a way to keep members on the site. One of the first social networking sites that took off was Friendster, which relied on the "perception of exclusivity" to drive its membership numbers sky high, according to Mark Brooks, editor of industry blog Online Personals Watch. Brooks worked with friend and Friendster founder Jonathan Abrams in 2003, and said much of his friend's success is owed to timing and a few simple observations. "He looked at the real world and he modeled it, and one of the things he noticed is there are certain people that are the connecters," Brooks said. Friendster did not try too hard, Brooks said. But it allowed people to join only when they were invited - thus feeding on the desire for exclusivity - and let people meet others through friends, thus ensuring, for the most part, that these friends of friends were legitimate. Facebook has virtually locked up the college market. MySpace.com started as a network for musicians to advertise and expand their fan base, but is fast becoming the largest social networking site in operation. "They're out-Friendstering Friendster, which is absolutely amazing" Brooks said. But business networking sites, such as Linkedin.com, will likely surpass them all in terms of lifespan, revenue and popularity, according to Marc Lesnick who runs the Internet Dating Conference, the largest industry event for online dating and social networking Web sites.
The full article was originally published at Union Leader, but is no longer available.