What word would you use to describe a social network created exclusively for gay men? Fabulis -- which is the name that Jobster and SocialMedian-founder Jason Goldberg gave to his most recent project, a social network for gay men, which launched back in April. The startup announced Wednesday the launch of its upgraded Fabulis 2.0, as well as the fact that it has raised an additional $375,000 from unnamed angel investors, which brings the total funding for the site to $1.25 million.
Since the site’s launch five months ago, Fabulis.com has drawn in 80,000 active users and continues to add an additional 5,000 new members each week. According to the site’s blog: “Facebook is a great place to share with the people you already know. But gay men are more social than that.” To bring an even greater social experience to social networking, Fabulis users all share one common stream that allows them to network with other users from around the world. Users can check-in and see who is local, or they can browse the stream and see what comments other users have left.
The new Fabulis 2.0 will allow users to connect their Facebook Places to Fabulis so that all Facebook check-ins also show up in the Fabulis live stream. Users can also follow other users’ check-ins or limit their feed to those they follow.
The upgraded site now also offers several features that echo familiar Facebook features, as well as some new ones. Fabulis members who like another user’s status or check-in can like it by clicking FAB, and if they’re doing the same thing they can click on ME TOO.
Also newly introduced is Fabulis Auctions, where users can bid on items like clothes, giftcards, and accessories using Fabulis.com’s virtual currency, Fabulis Bits. Items with retail prices of upwards of $100 are auctioned off for “bits” that typical total up to just over $1. Additionally, the site also offers exclusive coupons and deals for Fabulis members.
In addressing the comparison between Fabulis and Facebook, the Fabulis blog comments: “only your Facebook friends see your Facebook status updates. With fabulis, every gay guy in the world can see what you’re up to. It’s a great way to get to know gay guys nearby and around the world.”
Until the site’s launch in April, it was in private beta mode and added new users on an invitation-only basis, but even then the site was growing. By the time of its launch, it already had 14,000 members, including several celebrities, such as Alan Cumming and Glee’s Chris Colfer. In an interview with TechCrunch in April, founder Jason Goldberg explained that while Facebook provided an excellent social networking service for everyone, including gay men, he saw a need for a separate community just for gay men.
To be clear though, access to the site is not exclusive to gay men. Other users can also join as “friends of gay men.”
In February, Fabulis experienced some turbulence in moving towards its public debut when Citibank froze its bank account over allegedly posting “objectionable content” on the company blog. The account was frozen several days before anyone at Fabulis noticed, as Citibank did not notify the company. The move came as a shock to Goldberg, who defended the company blog as tasteful and the site itself as a serious business (for which he had raised $625,000 in seed funding from The Washington Post and Allen Morgan from Mayfield Fund).
As it later turned out, an individual compliance officer at Citibank was responsible for freezing the account, and had even marked it for cancellation, though she refused to explain why. Citibank later corrected the problem and issued an apology to Goldberg.
Prior to starting Fabulis, Jason Goldberg worked at the White House, AOL, and T-Mobile before creating Jobster, for which he raised $25 million. In 2008, he started SocialMedian as a social news network, and later sold it to Xing for $7.5 million.
Image source: businessinsider.com