For savvy companies, social networking, apps and media has become an integral part of corporate development and revenue modeling. The largest platform provider of social networking is Facebook (NASDAQ:FB). There are relatively undiscovered companies that uniquely stand to benefit by providing engines and services to social networking platforms. Let's take a look at some of these.
FriendFinder Networks (FFN)
FriendFinder Networks Inc. is a leading internet-based social networking and technology company operating several of the most heavily-trafficked websites in the world. They provide consumers with a wide variety of online products and services, appealing to members of diverse cultures and interest groups, so they can interact with each other and enjoy content.
Their sites' services include social networking, online personals, live and recorded video, online chat rooms, instant messaging, photo and video sharing, blogs, message boards, email and premium content websites. FriendFinder Networks also produces and distributes original pictorial and video content, licenses the globally recognized Penthouse brand to a variety of consumer product companies and entertainment venues, and publishes branded men's lifestyle magazines.
Social Investment Advantage: Specialized social networking platforms that interface with other platforms such as Facebook.
Mimvi is a social and mobile app discovery platform that provides a central place for finding and discovering apps including those for Facebook, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT). Facebook has announced a new app discovery engine called the App Center, which enables users to find social apps easily. Mimvi competes with Facebook in the area of helping consumers find apps within the Facebook platform and outside of the Facebook platform. Today Mimvi remains the largest search and discovery engine for social and mobile apps. Mimvi also offers vertical engines that specialize in areas such as Health and Games.
Social Investment Advantage: Provides consumers with the ability to find and discover social and mobile content and apps within social networks such as Facebook.
Bitzio's social mantra is "We Build Communities". Social media platforms have forever changed the way people communicate and network online. Now, a new wave of mobile apps is taking those changes into the "real world" and Bitzio exists to help people with all their social and mobile app needs. Using geolocation data and other social technology for social and mobile apps, Bitzio's methodologies change the way customers socialize on social media applications.
Social Investment Advantage: Develops and distributes social and mobile apps that interface with social networking experiences such as those on Facebook and other social networking outlets.
Zynga Inc. develops, markets, and operates online social games as live services on the Internet, social networking sites, and mobile platforms. The company offers its online social games under the CityVille, Zynga Poker, FarmVille, CastleVille, FrontierVille, Mafia Wars, Word with Friends, Hidden Chronicles, Zynga Bingo, Scramble With Friends, Slingo, and Dream Heights names. Its games are available on various platforms, including Facebook and other social networks, as well as mobile platforms, such as Apple iOS and Google Android worldwide.
Social Investment Advantage: Providing Facebook with 12% of its revenue.
Renren Inc. operates a social networking Internet platform in China. The company's platform enables its users to connect and communicate with each other, share information and user-generated content, play online games, listen to music, and shop for deals. Its platform includes renren.com, a social networking Website; game.renren.com, an online games center; nuomi.com, a social commerce Website; and 56.com, a user generated content video sharing website.
The company offers various services and features on its platform, including Renren Desktop, a software that displays real time news feeds, notifications, reminders, and other interactive content; Renren Xiaozhan, a blogging service that enables users to post multimedia content and could be customized to suit user preferences; Renren Mobile Voice Messaging, a mobile feature that allows to exchange text messages, audio messages, and pictures online and offline; Renren Music, a feature that provides access to streamed music across various genres and ages; Renren Like that allows users to share content with their friends; and Renren Check-in, a location-based service that allows users to use their mobile devices to share their location information with friends.
It also provides online games, music, videos, and other entertainment features; social commerce services; advertising formats and solutions, including social ads, display advertising, promoted news feeds, fan or brand page advertising, in-game advertising, and sponsored online events and branded virtual gifts; social commerce services; and other services, such as VIP memberships and virtual gifts.
Social Investment Advantage: Leveraging Chinese consumers as a market for social networking experiences.
Global X Social Media Index ETF (NASDAQ:SOCL)
The social media industry continues to grow rapidly, providing new ways for people to connect, share, shop, create and network. The social media sector, among the newest, is filled a variety of new companies The Global X Social Media Index ETF seeks to capture this global industry in a single ETF, and includes companies from all over the world that provide social networking, file sharing, and other web-based media applications. As the industry continues to expand through IPOs, the Global X Social Media Index ETF will include these new companies shortly after their public debut, providing an efficient way to gain exposure to the social media industry.
Social Investment Advantage: Although you may not experience the same returns that a pure-play social networking company may provide, SOCL is a good way to position in the social networking area as it reduces the risk involved with investing in social media stocks.
Quepasa Corporation (QPSA)
Quepasa provides services for social discovery and is owner of North-American platform myYearbook and Latin-American platform Quepasa. The company is currently consolidating its properties and branding to MeetMe, which will be completed later this year. The company makes meeting people fun through social games and apps, monetized through both advertising and virtual currency. In addition to Quepasa and myYearbook, the Company operates Quepasa Games, a cross-platform social game development studio. Quepasa.com provides users with access to a multilingual menu of resources that promote social interaction, information sharing, and other topics of interest to users.
Social Investment Advantage: Unique international social platform providing entertaining social app experiences across social networks.
Social networks, apps, search and media are on track for continued explosive growth. Facebook alone creates large opportunities for competitors and service providers that are executing models that stand to share its revenue opportunities and consumer adoption. Unique and powerful investment opportunities abound in this newly connected world.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.