Profile: iYomu

iYomu, social network for adults, offers chance to win $1 million

By Dan Kaplan 08.13.07

iYomu, a social network targeting adults, is offering a $1 million prize in an effort to lure users. The contest starts today.

The New Zealand-based company says that the major social networks like MySpace, Bebo, Facebook, and Hi5 are designed without the needs of the older folks in mind. It aims to steal Friendster’s 30-somethings, outdo TeeBeeDe for those over 40 (see coverage here) and take down Eons,
which targets the 50-plus crowd. Offering a shot at $1 million is an
interesting, if awkward, approach to the problem of differentiation in
an increasingly crowded market.

Unnamed investors from around the world are underwriting the
contest, but it’s still a bit of gamble. The idea, of course, is that
the bounty will pull in enough users and ultimately pay for itself and
more, but iYomu is going to have dish it out regardless. To win the
money, you have to earn points, which you win for being active on the
site, filing out your profile, getting friends to sign up, etc. Most
importantly, you have to solve a series of difficult puzzles. After
December 31st, iYomu interviews the 10 people with the most points,
selects three finalists, and has each of the three finalists write an
essay explaining why he or she should win. The iYomu community then
votes for the winner.

Despite the allure of $1 million, iYomu faces an uphill battle. As Richard MacManus points out on Read/Write Web,
“it will be a challenge getting adults to use social networks, simply
because they don’t spend anywhere near as much time socializing online
as teenagers.” Furthermore, Facebook’s reach appears to be extending to
an older demographic and so the assumption that it doesn’t serve their
needs may be wrong.

Challenges aside, iYomu is no slouch. It has most of the features
one would expect, a user-friendly interface that puts MySpace to shame,
plus an interesting personality quiz, called iYDNA, that measures a
number a characteristics, like sociability, energy, generosity, and so
on. It offers one gigabyte of space for users’ media, and charges for
extra space should the need arise.

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