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Is there a market for a private secure "Facebook Wall" for families or groups?


#1

I have built what would be considered an alpha version of a “Facebook Wall” clone for my extended family. The reason my family wanted me to build this was for private communications they don’t want on Facebook or other sharing options out on the internet.

Do you think there is a market for a private wall for posting things you only want those people invited to see with a similar user interface to a Facebook wall? The things that would set it apart from other sharing options would be privacy, security, no ads, and no crawling for data.

For pricing I was thinking of $5/month for a family wall. Someone would setup the wall, and invite family members to sign in.

What are you thoughts about this as a business?

Thanks for the input!


#2

I hope, I wish that something like this is viable. I suspect that it isn’t, though. I think that for too many people Facebook is an unbeatable option, despite its privacy shortcomings and ads.


#3
  1. Seems pretty obvious an idea and easy to do right?
  2. Path
  3. Do a search for private social network

I wanted to do this in 2010, but then I just adopted Path.


#4

Wasn’t this main idea behind Google+? You create circles for family, friends, etc. and share just to circle you want. Very few people in my network use G+ so I didn’t gather much experience with it, maybe I’m seeing it wrong.
Now as I wrote this I realize it’s not same as common wall for selected group. You organize circle for yourself, and it’s not that everyone else can just use that circle. Equivalent to common wall would be if all participants create exactly same circle with everyone else included.


#5

Do you remember Origami private family network?


#6

Even if they invite 1000 people to join?

I can see that there could be a market for this. But I think it would be a real challenge to get noticed. There are already so many other social networks. And you aren’t going to have a lot of opportunities for paid advertising as $5/mo.

Maybe you could also sell it to businesses and associations, but with a higher fee?


#7

I dabbled with this around 2000 with a partner called Intranets.com. But it had to be free to get people to use it. With Facebook as well, everyone is so used to this type of service being free I think you will have an up-hill struggle getting people to buy just for a private area to chat. Maybe there is more value somewhere that would translate into a paid service.

Since consumers are getting more used to advertising in social media that may be how you can generate revenue, however the risk here of course is that advertising questions how much of someone’s personal data is being shared for marketing purposes.

Hope that helps.


#8

There are some intranets out there which have a lot of this functionality. I’ve heard nice things about Igloo, which incorporates a blog, wiki, twitter-like-thing, forum, document sharing. (And you know it must be awesome if Sandwich Video did the ads.) Igloo and several of its main competitors clock in at $5-10/user.

Still, there might be room for something with a lot less structured functionality: like the OP said, just a mashup of freeform text, images, tweets, likes, and so on. (I still pine for you, Google Wave.) It is still hard to see consumers – individuals or families – signing up for it, but I could see small businesses or even individual teams going for it. You could call it Slipchat. Or Hipack.


#9

Thank you all for your thoughts, I really appreciate it.

Along with your comments and my further research, I probably won’t turn this into a product. My reasons being:

  • The market is pretty crowded and I don’t have something unique to set me apart.
  • It’s B to C, which is usually tougher to get to profitability.
  • Some of the players in this space have said it is really hard to get consumers to pay for this type of service, even if it is private.

I’m thinking my best bet is to eventually open source the code. It will probably serve my career better as an example of my web development work than it could as a business.

Thanks again everyone!