Social networking Web sites have been growing in popularity for 10 years or so, allowing people to form online communities and social networks. So far, most social network sites have been tethered to computers. In other words, you had to use a computer with an Internet connection to access the site. At least, that's been the case up until recently. While some social networking sites have customized pages that can be used on cell phone screens, MocoSpace is a social networking site designed specifically to reach out to customers on the go.
While MocoSpace works much the same as any other popular social networking site, it's specifically designed to be used on mobile devices like cell phones. You don't need an expensive smartphone to access MocoSpace either -- it works with virtually any cell phone that can access the Internet.
Sites like MocoSpace could potentially change the way people interact and make things like status updates and friend requests ubiquitous. Everyone steps away from the computer at some point, no matter how much time he or she likes to spend playing games and updating social networking pages. But when they leave, people typically keep their cell phones with them at all times.
In this article, we'll learn who founded MocoSpace and what makes this social networking site different from all the others.
MocoSpace was founded in 2005 by Jamie Hall and Justin Siegel. The company is based in Boston, Mass. [source: Roush]. In 2007 and 2008 the company received $7 million in funding [source: Schonfeld]. It reported more than 6 million registered users in March 2009, and as of the following May it was one of the most popular Web destinations for mobile phone users, topping even MySpace [source: Jackson].
Using MocoSpace is a lot like using other popular social networking Web sites. When you join the site, you'll get your own profile page which you can modify with backgrounds and other graphics. In addition, you can use your profile page to show photos of yourself and to share personal information. Your profile can include your name, age, relationship status, body type, sexual orientation, ethnicity, and whether or not you smoke, drink or have children. If you're looking for a certain type of relationship or person, you can include that information as well.
You can then create a list of friends and interact with them on the site. By adjusting your privacy settings, you can even make sure only certain people can view your personal information. In addition to photos, you can add videos or even start your own blog directly on your MocoSpace page.
MocoSpace has a few extra features beyond those included on other social network Web sites. There are chat rooms where you can talk with other MocoSpace members in real-time using a Java script. You can even create private rooms. There are also forums and classified ads. It's also possible to browse galleries of images posted by other users.
Benefits of MocoSpace
MocoSpace is built on the premise that the majority of mobile device users don't have expensive, cutting-edge technology in their pockets -- but they do have basic cell phones with varying levels of Web access. MocoSpace has built its audience mostly by word of mouth, and seems to have engineered success by not limiting its appeal to high-end users.
This approach has also led MocoSpace to take a cross-platform approach. One of the benefits of MocoSpace is that it works on virtually any mobile device. It isn't tied to any specific platform, device or company. In fact, while MocoSpace has partnership deals with some companies, it isn't an "on-deck" mobile service. That means it isn't restricted to certain companies' mobile devices. Users interact directly with MocoSpace through a regular mobile Web browser.
There are some drawbacks to this, however. MocoSpace's engineers have to do a lot of optimization and tweaking to get the site's various video and photo sharing systems to function with such a wide variety of devices. And some cell phone service providers block some of MocoSpace's functionality as a result of their being off-deck.
MocoSpace is free to its users. The company makes money by selling advertising. While customers who can access MocoSpace with a mobile device see essentially the same content that appears on the regular Web site, much of the advertising is customized for mobile delivery. MocoSpace touts their access to detailed customer demographic information as a key asset in their quest to earn more advertising dollars.
Also available to MocoSpace users is a built-in music store. MocoSpace has partnerships with several music labels and offers songs by pop and urban artists.
Compared to many other social networking Web sites, MocoSpace has a very young user group: 80 percent of users are under age 30, 50 percent are under age 24, and 25 percent are teens [source: Roush]. This has led to some controversy, because the user-posted videos and photos are sometimes sexually provocative. MocoSpace claims that all user-posted content is reviewed by MocoSpace staff before it's approved, but some parents may not like the tone of the discussions on the site or the nature of the images and videos.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Jackson, Jasper. "Mobile social network tops U.S. mobile web visits." Strategy Eye. May 22, 2009. (July 27, 2009) http://digitalmedia.strategyeye.com/article/ab6c7bc242/2009/05/22/Mobile_social_network_tops_US_mobile_web_visits/
- Johnson, Carolyn. "Moving way beyond small talk." Boston Globe. Aug. 29, 2007. (July 21, 2009) http://www.boston.com/business/globe/articles/2007/08/29/moving_way_beyond_small_talk
- Roush, Wade. "MocoSpace's Winning Formula for Feature-Phone Social Networking." Xconomy. May 20, 2009. (July 21, 2009) http://www.xconomy.com/boston/2009/05/20/mocospaces-winning-formula-for-feature-phone-social-networking/
- Schonfeld, Erick. "MocoSpace Raises $4 Million B Round." TechCrunch. Jan. 7, 2008. (July 19, 2009) http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/01/27/mocospace-raises-4-million-b-round/