There's a really good article in the Houston Chronicle labeled Internet Startups Going Social. Normally, mainstream articles like this can be pretty vague, but I thought this one really hit the spot. Plus, I've always liked the Chron.com format.
The article gives some cool information regarding these social sites themselves, their overheads, word-of-mouth marketing, and attracting ad dollars.
It winds up that Houston (also home to Search Engine Guide and the updated social-based Small Business Brief) has a number of cool social networking sites. Based on the success of sites like MySpace and Facebook, these Houston-based sites are similar, but built more toward a particular niche from "wannabe" stars, social networking for moms, illnesses and injuries, and even a user-recommended search engine - algorithm free (sort of).
OpMom.com is built for moms gaining advice, giving wisdom, finding great ideas, and meeting other moms.
IRazoo.com touts itself as a true "social search engine". The sites that come up on top are determined by user votes. It looks like it's at least partially algo-based, but it gives users the chance to recommend the site or not. It probably has a long way to go, but it does have promise.
My favorite is CareFlash.com. It lets users keep up to date with friends and relatives of those who are ill with requests down to picking up mail to informational videos regarding their illness or injury. The videos themselves are really slick and informative.
The only things I really know about Houston is that it's big, my cousin Jerry lives there, and I'm going to make my first visit there in a couple weeks (I'm still working on that shirt, Robert!). It's cool to know that there seems to be quite the social media scene there as well.
Paul Jahn is the owner of Localmn Interactive Marketing, a Minnesota-based Internet marketing company. Localmn focuses on helping local companies large and small leverage the most out of their search marketing campaigns depending on their respective needs, including SEO, PPC, local search, and social media campaigns. Paul also runs and contributes to the Localmn local search blog.
With over ten years of Internet marketing experience, Paul has particular expertise in search marketing, with extensive knowledge of local search.
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