Social networking sites analyzed via the Value Framework™

Gary George has done an extensive analysis of the major social networking sites using Mitchell Levy’s Value Framework™, a strategic planning tool that has become popular throughout Silicon Valley through Mitch’s work with several area companies and universities.

The report lists 22 sites in this space (a few I hadn’t even heard of), and provides an analysis of nine of them:
Classmates
Ecademy
Friendster
Friendzy
Huminity
Link Silicon Valley
Linked In
Ryze
Spoke

He then categorizes them according to their product/service offerings and their market reach:

PRODUCT/ SERVICE
OFFERINGS

MARKET REACH
 
Broad
Focused
Broad

1) Classmates
Ryze

2) LinkedIn
Ecademy
Friendster
Friendzy
Focused
3) Huminity
4) Spoke
Link Silicon Valley

Personally, I think Friendster and Friendzy want to be broad in their market reach, although they have definitely attracted a certain dominant demographic. So, I question those categorizations. However, he does raise a very important and valid point in his conclusion for that product grouping:

The design and feel of these sites are all focused on their specific market. This may be a benefit or a detriment by alienating other users.

This is a point I’ve raised several times with the folks at Ecademy. It was also my immediate reaction when I heard the rumor that Friendster might be planning to expand beyond its current focus on dating.

Gary then goes on to analyze each site in terms of the strategies deployed, strategies managed, and strategies evolved. He ended up hitting upon a couple of other key points that I have observed myself: the need for LinkedIn to consider building a community among its users, and for Ryze to “be concerned about balancing its friendliness with professionalism”.

This report is very insightful, and provides a useful high-level view for people wanting to look at the trends in the industry. For the prospective member, it might help you decide which one(s) are a good fit for you, but won’t tell you much of the user experience beyond that