There’s a longish article in the WSJ (sub req’d) that discusses a range of emerging professional “social networks” and chronicles some of their success stories: doctors, IT professionals, graphic designers. The user value propositions of these vertical or niche social networks are almost self-evident: networking, mentoring/advice, biz dev. And you can charge subscriptions as opposed to relying entirely on ad models. These folks are typically paying professional org. dues in the real world and are likely more willing to pay to join a focused online professional network.
While LinkedIn (and to a lesser degree Facebook) have created “horizontal” networks for professional, these new networks are much more specific and likely to be more successful in many respects accordingly.
Expect to see many more such pro-niche networks emerge in the next year.
Related: Momster social network Maya’s Mom is acquired by BabyCenter, which recently redesigned to put much more emphasis on social media elements. This acquisition bolsters that strategy. Here are some previous thoughts and observations of BabyCenter after speaking with Chairwoman Tina Sharkey.
PaidContent has more on investors in Maya’s Mom.