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Badoo, The Newest Social Media Wave That Let's You 'Chat, Flirt, Socialise, & Have Fun'

Have you heard or checked out one of the newest social media networks, Badoo? After writing yesterday's article "The World's Biggest Social Network: QQ, China's Facebook but Bigger" it got me interested in exploring more in-depth the world of social networks and that's where I came across the fast-growing, Badoo. Many of you might be very familiar with the service, if so congrats on being ahead of the game. Badoo is interesting in many different angles and something worth exploring for those deeply involved in the internet and online world. For those not familiar with the service, here's a summary I gleaned from a recent article in the London Times:

 

Russian entrepreneur Andrey Andreev is the brains behind it & runs the biggest internet co. you've probably never heard of, which is managed out of its Soho, London HQ, but owned by a company in Cyprus.  There are rumors the site may do an IPO in 2011.  Most people confuse it with China's Baidu & Badoo now has designs to go global.  If Facebook is the site for the friends you know, Badoo is the place to go for the friends you don't.  Its FaceBook app is one of the most popular on FaceBook.

Badoo is one of 3 European internet ventures that are rivalling Silicon Valley.  The other two are:  Wonga, which offers cash advances and Spotify, the digital jukebox.

Badoo is an interesting social network site that has 120m+ registered users in 150 countries, since its 2006 launch in London in w/ the catchy tagline:  "Chat, flirt, socialise, have fun."  Badoo is like a chat room, dating site & picture rating site disguised as a social network.  But its most active in Europe & Latin America w/ America largely untapped.  Badoo's CEO thinks it has a lot in common w/ newspaper personal ads & prefers to think of Badoo as taking the nightclub experience online.  Seems the more funny pictures you post, the more friends you have.  Same as being in a club: if you're well dressed you attract more people.  He distinguishes Badoo from Facebook in that his model focuses on finding new friends, not old ones.  It helps that users can access the site from mobile phones & you can search for members who are within 1km & 5 km, so people can send messages to suggest an impromptu meeting.  Coming soon is a 'heat map' that identifies people's locations more precisely than that.  Badoo says it aggressively polices inappropriate pictures, closes offensive accounts & that prostitution is not an issue.

Its largely free to use, has no ads, but members pay to promote themselves.  Smartphone users can send a £1 text message to vault their profile briefly at the top of the rankings - in the same way companies pay search specialists to get them placed near top of Google's results pages.  Some users send 20 texts/day to boost their standing.  Users can also send 'virtual gifts' like a digital rose, to new friends.  Some critics claim Badoo is really just a glorified photo rating service that allows a little bit more on the profiles & has a decent messaging system.  Others claim is has peaked & will decline.

Either way, Badoo's still an novel, success that has some interesting aspects that may or may not have some application to your daily life. If it does great, if not keep with your Twitter, Facebook, or whatever network fits your lifestyle best.

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Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.