Niche Social Networking:

MySpace and Friendster’s runaway popularity and exposure have helped spawn an array of targeted networking sites. Are Advertisers noticing?

Vox, a social networking and blogging site with strict privacy controls, so users can limit who sees particular posts. Vox users can make some content available to the general public. Other posts and photos can only be seen by users designated as true friends, family members, or people in the user’s extended neighborhood (which includes friends of friends).

Since launching to the general public, Vox has nearly tripled in size. Its success indicates a trend among newer social networking sites, which are gaining traction not by focusing on the mass-popularity model that made News Corp.’s MySpace famous, but by helping users connect with smaller, more specific, groups.

ItLinkz ,on Jan. 31, the social networking company launched the first of its 13 planned targeted networking sites. Its initial offering, NurseLinkup.com, already has more than 500 health professionals visiting the site. The site launched, in part, to help users frustrated with the party atmosphere of MySpace, which has users with hundreds of thousands of friends and a reputation for having a 25-and-under audience. (Incidentally, comScore reports that more than half of MySpace users are over 35.) “MySpace is for everyone, our focus is on communities” according to Myspace executives.

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