Kiwi start-up targets global social networking market for grown-ups

The new website aims to combine online storage, photo-sharing, email and networking, in a user-friendly format

Local company iYomu aims to take on social networking giants Facebook and MySpace with its new social networking site for grown-ups. The company has its eyes set on the global market.

The company wouldn’t reveal details about the August launch of its website or the unusual offer it hopes will drive user numbers.

Director and founder of the company David Wolf-Rooney believes there is a gap in the online networking market for young to middle-aged professionals.

The site is aimed at the 25-55 age-group with people under 18 being restricted. This will be controlled by birth dates, but young people will probably not be keen on the site anyway, says Wolf-Rooney.

The site is now at the beta-testing stage and the online communities created so far include those interested in cooking, parenting and business, he says.

The new website aims to combine online storage, photo-sharing, email and networking, all presented in a user-friendly format, says Frances Valintine, iYomu director and managing director of web design company Shoko. Users will get 1GB of online storage, for photos, videos, music and documents, she says. Additional storage — up to 8GB — can be purchased for US$12-$30 per month (NZ$15-$37), and this is where initial revenue will come from. The company expects about 7% of users will pay for extra storage. The company may look to earn revenue from advertising at a later stage.

The servers are hosted in the US, says Valintine.

The software behind the venture is developed by NetValue in Hamilton. Valintine’s company Shoko built the Flash visual interface.

Sliders and drop-down menus serve to minimise the need for typing, as the target users tend to be busy with jobs and families and don’t have much time, and they may also be unfamiliar with social networking websites, says Valintine.

The site features a search engine that allows users to search for people with particular interests or skills in defined geographical locations.

The search results come up as a visual representation and the user can “mouse” over people for quick information or click on them to go to their profile.

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Tags social networkingonline storagePhoto SharingDevelopment IDshoko

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