As long as there have been mothers, there has been social networking. Throughout history, groups of women have gathered to exchange advice and support for raising kids, and for maintaining a safe and comfortable home. Before the Internet, social networks for moms consisted of extended families, neighborhood friends and some organized local meetings. Now, instead of just gathering at the neighbor's house or the coffee shop, moms are joining online communities and getting advice and support that reaches far beyond their local community.
CaféMom is one of several social networking Web sites dedicated to moms and moms-to-be. You can visit CaféMom to read articles, blogs and advice on topics on more than just motherhood and homemaking. You can also join the site for free to ask questions, post your own advice or create a blog or photo gallery. As a bonus, you can choose to receive free products from sponsors with a request that you talk about the product at CaféMom.
CMI Marketing is the marketing engine behind CaféMom. CMI was launched in 1999 by Andrew Shue, Meredith Viera and others in support of newly launched ClubMom.com. ClubMom included blogs, articles, and message boards, and its sponsors were in the forefront with a special purchase rewards program. Between March and May in 2007, CMI ended the ClubMom affiliate program to focus on site enhancements, and then launched its new affiliate program for its sister site CaféMom, redirecting its efforts there. Shue, along with CMI Marketing CEO Michael Sanchez, described the new site as a "no dads allowed" way for moms to come together and help each other.
Unlike other social network sites, CaféMom has a notably different advertising approach. Shue describes CaféMom as a "Tupperware party on steroids," explaining that moms can interact with sponsors' products, then market to each other through product reviews. Moms see the reviews as authentic because they are real people talking about real experiences and expressing a range of opinions. When asked whether negative reviews were an issue, Sanchez said that the company ensures it has sponsors that make good products. As a result, around 90 percent of the reviews are positive. With this different marketing approach, CaféMom can display fewer, smaller ads and some sponsored mom-centric widgets so that sponsors don't crowd out the moms as the site's focus.
Go on to the next section to read about the features of the CaféMom Web site and how you can be part of the community.