I want my social network

Technology trends and news by Bambi Francisco Roizen
July 9, 2007
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/22

sidestepsSocial networks seem to be the must-have feature on just about all sites across the Web. SideStep, the travel search company, is set to announce Tuesday that it bought three-person startup TripUp. The reason, according to Rob Solomon, SideStep CEO, is to have a social-networking platform.


TripUp isn’t the only social network that’s being courted, I’m sure. If you have a platform, there are many suitors willing to acquire it rather than build it themselves, especially if the network effect has already taken root. On 15-month-old TripUp, there are under 100,000 members, according to Solomon, who would not disclose any of the financials.


How popular are social networks?  About 20 percent of adults are members of an online social network,  and more than 60 percent of "youth" visit a social-networking site weekly, according to a recent study from Forrester Research.


TripUp generated a couple hundred thousand visitors per month, with each visitor viewing about 10 pages, according to Solomon. TripUp is where people can hook up, or find dates, while on their travels, according to Solomon, who said he wanted a platform similar to wayn.com, a European-based social network that connects people based on where they are, or where they're going.


How will this social network help SideStep? If it's viral enough, it'll help, to some extent, SideStep meet its projections to increase its 2006 revenue of $22 million by 50%. The question is, however, with so many social networks - from movie social networks to wine social networks - vying for a person's information and network, will travel be enough of an interest to be a draw?