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This article was published on August 1, 2008

The Biggest Social Network You Have Never Heard Of

The Biggest Social Network You Have Never Heard Of
Steven Carrol
Story by

Steven Carrol

Steven is a web applications developer, living in south of France, originally from London. His current project is In the nin Steven is a web applications developer, living in south of France, originally from London. His current project is In the nineties, he was a designer / director of a highly successful design, manufacturing and distribution company (Intimidation).

The Saatchi-Gallery is probably one of the biggest sites you have never heard of, they are one of the most trafficked sites in the UK, with 70 million hits a day and are ranked the 253 in the world. And for those wondering what all the fuss is about they reached these traffic levels almost overnight.

What is interesting is that the Saatchi-Gallery was almost an instant hit when they launched their new social network last year, then the traffic peaked when they announced their first competition. Competitions are extremely attractive to artists who are looking for opportunities to make a name for themselves. The Saatchi-Gallery hit the nerve when they launched and then took the market by storm.

But according to Compete the appeal of the Saatchi-Gallery is falling off fast, leaving the door open for other contenders who do it right. Evidently the art market is ripe for the taking and the game is not over just yet!

MYartSPACE which has just turned 2 years old and is slowly grooming itself into the Myspace for artists. MYartSPACE is a social networking forum where artists have their profile, can upload images and videos for others to comment on, network with others, and enter competitions. They are not alone in this space, with a few other contenders they are fighting it out to gain traction and build the premier network of artists.

So what can MYartSPACE learn from the giant Myspace who still dominates the No1 position for most trafficked site online?

Some constructive suggestions from my initial usage of the site.

  1. Given these are expressive destinations the first and most important improvement that MYartSPACE could implement IMHO is allowing users to have much greater control over their personal profile spaces, like Myspace, allowing users to embed Flash widgets would be a major step forward and an easy technical addition.
  2. Allowing the use of personal CSS to be incorporated, giving users control over the look and feel of their personal pages.
  3. From a SEM perspective they are loosing a ton of potential traffic from Google as the profile pages are not optimized correctly.
  4. Improving the value of their competitions, not in a monetary sense but in terms of connections, profile, prestigiousness and acclaim they can shower upon winners would help increase the participation of current users, also attracting new artists.

The social networking space for artists is a tough cookie to crack but rich rewards await the winners. With a few further additions MYartSPACE would have a fair chance at swiping traffic from the giant who dominated this space early on. It will be interesting to see how the race for traffic and user participation turns out, but one thing is for sure, the gap between the rich and the poor amongst these players is huge and if the smaller contestants are to have any chance they will need to use every bit of magic they can conjure.

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