Aug 02 2007 Social Networking for Grown Ups

Published by at 2:53 pm under community,social networking,startups Beta Logo

I attended a briefing session last night about a website that is publicly launching on the 13th of August – it’s currently in private beta. Apparently the launch is going to be quite remarkable (but the developers were tight lipped). New Zealanders Frances Valintine and David Wolf-Rooney, the development team, flew into Sydney yesterday to conduct the briefing. Social Networking for Grownups is a site labeled as “Social Networking for Grown Ups”. It has received funding from fifty investors in seven different countries, and it has been two years in the making.

Before you start groaning about “another social network”, more than likely if you’re reading this, you are not the target market. The developers do not see themselves in competition with the likes of MySpace, Flickr, Facebook or LinkedIn.

So who is the target market?

  • the over 30’s (you’re supposed to be over 18 to sign up)
  • those who predominantly communicate via email
  • those who may only have one email address
  • use digital cameras and videos
  • currently do not use social networking sites
  • less tech savvy – ie unlikely to have working knowledge of html, and find places like MySpace overwhelming.

Main Features

  • User profile, including hobbies, work status, personal attributes.
  • iYDNA, allows a user to create a type of psychometric profile – how they consider themselves to be on various attributes of personality, values and interests. This can be shared with others, or kept private. It can also be used to find like-minded members.
  • iYCommunity allows you to find communities that have been formed around particular interests like rugby or skiing, for example. At present a member can only communicate with other community members individually, but the developers envisage they will incorporate “forum” style communication shortly.
  • iYLocate allows you to conduct a very refined search, choosing variables such as location, interests, hobbies and personal attributes. The results are returned and fall into bands, depending on what percentage match they are to you.
  • Vault – allows you to store personal documents, photos, videos and music. Access to these documents can be changed individually, so you may opt to share some documents with everyone, others only to selected members, and others to remain private. There is 1 GB of free storage, and additional storage can be purchased. The developers see this function as a real point of differentiation for their product, and envisage this feature might be popular with the travelling business person, or regular “mums and dads” who often don’t have back-up provisions in place on their personal home computer.

My thoughts

I couldn’t see myself using the iYomu site, but then I’m not the target demographic.

I forwarded the site to my mum, to put it through the “mum test” (she’s a great beta tester) and her comment was that she didn’t see any appeal with the site, or any particular use for her. The “iY….” everything confused her. I suggested that maybe she could use it to share her photos with the family, but even still it held no appeal.

Regarding the name – I don’t like it! And I said as much – particularly given that the market that they are targetting. I understand that there are distinct advantages in having a unique name that can be trademarked, but if people can’t remember it to get to your site… Incidentally, iYomu is short for “I You Me Us” (I still can’t remember if it’s pronounced “i-you-moo”, “i-yo-moo”, “i-yo-me” or “i-you-me”, but I wrote down “i-yo-moo” – whatever). But, as I was reminded, “google” was probably considered a hard to remember name years ago.

Anyone who signs up during their beta period (before 13th August) goes into the draw to win $5,000 (US)! If you’d like to check it out, use the password iyoumubeta iyomubeta (thanks Stilgherrian!).

What do you think? Do you find it intuitive? Would you remember the name? Do you think it’s going to be the biggest thing since MySpace, or a fizzer?

Update 13/8: Read about the $1 million iYoumu challenge.

26 responses so far

26 Responses to “ Social Networking for Grown Ups”

  1. Lavenderon 02 Aug 2007 at 8:33 pm

    Um, you know, using the bullet list, I think Im in thier target market.
    Sounds like I have to put alot of personal info out there – almost like Ive gone fishing, and then I can only communicate one to one….Im pretty sure Id rather Taser myself.
    I dont get the name either…overall Im really not interested.
    Did they just really miss thier demographic, or is this some kind of closet-dating site maybe?
    I guess only time will tell, thanks for the goss, Meg!

  2. Stilgherrianon 02 Aug 2007 at 11:03 pm

    Meg, you’ve got the password wrong, it’s iyomubeta.

    I was one of the folks there last night, and I’ve started writing up my thoughts, though not as detailed as yours yet. However I’ll be writing brief daily posts as I explore.

    I think the trick for iYomu’s success will be as much about timing as it is about features. They need to be early enough to beat any potential competitors, but not so early that they fail to reach critical mass before the earliest adopters give up.

  3. Fat Bastardon 02 Aug 2007 at 11:12 pm

    Apart from the name, I like the site. It’s easy to use and it has just enough features to keep me interested.
    I think the site will attract a lot of like minded users from around the world with the distraction of millions of teenagers giggling at their first signs of maturity.
    The sign up proceedure was very easy and I even managed to get it right first time.

  4. Stilgherrianon 02 Aug 2007 at 11:21 pm

    iYomu: “Social Networking for Grown Ups”?…

    “Every single person working in the media today who experienced the dot-com bubble in 1999 to 2000 believes that we are going through the exact same process and can expect the exact same results — a bust. It’s déjà vu all over agai…

  5. Megon 02 Aug 2007 at 11:59 pm

    @Stilgherrian – THANKS – see what I mean about the name (did I do the wrong thing by publishing the password – they did say “share it with your friends”)?

    @ Fat Bastard – thanks for your feedback and I’m encouraged that you like the site.

  6. Megon 03 Aug 2007 at 12:02 am


    Really you can make what you like of the site. Nothing is compulsory, and you can be as private as you like with your information.

    “Im pretty sure Id rather Taser myself.”

    ROFL 😀

  7. Stilgherrianon 03 Aug 2007 at 12:34 am

    @Meg: I think the password is meant to be out there now — surely their strategy must be for us to seed the community with some high-value users. OTOH, everyone we invite dilutes our chances of winning the $5k.

  8. Megon 03 Aug 2007 at 9:53 am

    Stilgherrian – I didn’t enter, so it doesn’t worry me!

  9. Danielon 03 Aug 2007 at 3:27 pm

    I have signed up, and think the site has great potential. I am always keen to get behind NZ business also.

  10. Megon 03 Aug 2007 at 5:03 pm

    Hi Daniel – I hope you have fun with it, and find it useful!

  11. Nicoletteon 04 Aug 2007 at 11:09 am

    I have signed up too and love it!! I’m one of the target audience and I they think they’ve got it right. I love the vault. Great to share photos with others but also all my important documents are safe if the house gets burnt down or computer crashes or gets stolen. Go iYomu!! NZ needs more people like these guys.

  12. Megon 04 Aug 2007 at 12:03 pm

    Hi Nicolette – nice to see you getting behind your homegrown talent. Glad you’re enjoying it.

  13. DateDemonon 04 Aug 2007 at 8:56 pm

    I am completely for any new websites period. 2 years in the making is quite a while though I hope everything goes well for the site.

  14. Scotton 05 Aug 2007 at 9:59 am

    Seen other comments about iYomu and think its either you like it or don’t. i signed up and find it better than some other sites out there. I know the beta testing is only for finding bugs etc and hope it will suceed. Go NZ!

  15. kiwifiedpomon 05 Aug 2007 at 6:53 pm

    Great to see a quality alternative for people who want social networking without the hassle of Myspace, Bebo etc. It also has some cool concepts such as the “vault”, a definite for adults rather than teenagers….

  16. TMacon 08 Aug 2007 at 6:19 am

    Hey all,
    First up i’d like to say i know someone who has been involved in iyomu (is it really that hard to remember?) from an early stage at an investment level. His perspective on it is a) don’t bag on a site before it is refined and large amounts of user feedback is on and b) don’t underestimate the people behind the venture – all remarkably calm, methodical and open to criticism and interpretation. Will it be a success? i dunno. But with the number of people (including those in the demographic this is aimed at) using computers ever increasing and the world “getting smaller” and more accessible these days – more and more people want to get in touch on line! I like the site already – i concede it has a long way to go! but i’d rather taser myself (nice expression!) than use arsebook or mypornospace to promote how great i am (even though i’ma lways sat in front of computer!),
    Good luck to David and the iyomu team.
    Thanks for reading my post….

  17. Danielon 09 Aug 2007 at 7:33 pm


  18. Nicoletteon 12 Aug 2007 at 12:03 pm

    This TMac person sounds like someone with his/her head screwed on. There are a lot of us non-arsebook and non-mypornospace people out there. Don’t underestimate us and our willingness to use technology.

  19. kiwifiedpomon 12 Aug 2007 at 5:25 pm

    Totally agree, I just hope word reaches enough people to really make the site thrive with information and contacts. Fingers crossed, a fantastic idea

  20. Stilgherrianon 13 Aug 2007 at 3:11 pm

    I’ve written further thoughts on iYomu, and also in Crikey today [subscriber-only content]. Short version: I reckon Facebook will beat them all, long term.

  21. Stilgherrianon 13 Aug 2007 at 3:12 pm

    It’s also interesting to note that kiwifiedpom wrote exactly the same comment on my blog, verbatim. Odds-on he’s from the PR company hired by iYomu.

  22. […] couple of weeks ago I wrote about a social networking site for grownups. In that post I alluded to a grand launch being planned: Apparently the launch is going to be quite […]

  23. Megon 13 Aug 2007 at 3:27 pm


    I’ve noticed there has been a great deal of parochial support for iYomu!

    Thanks for the links. I’ve just posted an update too!

  24. Stilgherrianon 13 Aug 2007 at 11:18 pm

    @strong: I think it’s great that a NZ business is going for the global stage. The continual American viewpoint does get boring. But in my heart of hearts, I don’t think they’re going to make it. I’d love them to prove me wrong though!

  25. amandon 16 Aug 2007 at 12:12 am

    hi think this is the crappiest site i have seen. would not recommend to anyone. they are all for big money and getting acquired by some big fish. how did they get money from so many investors? bad site too many hassles.

  26. rippingon 01 Sep 2007 at 7:35 pm

    I tried this tonight after reading an article in PC world. Site is dead.. no response… can’t even get in the front door pffttt.