A new social networking site is planning to launch (can’t say…

…the name) for the real estate space in a month or so… and early marketing material suggest that one of their big selling points is that they are going to start with tons of users because they’ve bought a list from another real estate site (presumably with tons of users).   This has me scratching my head on a number of levels.

Can you really start a social network with people who don’t know they’re in it?  Would you be upset if you went to a site and they already had an account set up and knew things about you?

I haven’t followed up with them to find out just what they mean when they say they’ve acquired X number of users, but I’m definitely curious.   It’s one thing if they simply bought an email list (spammy but common).  It’s another thing, if users get to the site and find a LinkedIn-style profile already built for them.

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Dustin Luther

Current lead up the team managing Brand and Influencer Engagement programs for Dun & Bradstreet. You can find me on Twitter (@tyr) or LinkedIn (DustinLuther)

15 thoughts on “A new social networking site is planning to launch (can’t say…”

  1. “Would you be upset if you went to a site and they already had an account set up and knew things about you?”

    I don’t know if “upset” is the right word. But it does creep me out and just seems wrong on many levels.

    Anyone can easily find a great deal of info about me from existing public sites.

    But taking that info and placing me into a “social network”?? I don’t get it.

    If I found a profile-like thing somewhere that I didn’t put it, my first reaction would be to delete it and never return to that site.

    Doesn’t seem like a very prudent way to build a network…

  2. There are probably a lot of vendors with a lot of real estate clients that they could link together and spin off into a social network. (ie. Advanced Access, Inman News, e-Neighborhoods, Point2, etc.)

    As far as going to a site and finding out that I was already a member, I don’t even think I would even notice. I sign up for lots of services and sites, don’t go back to them for several months (or years) then eventually click a link to look at them later.

    If I ended up in a network that I didn’t sign up for, I probably wouldn’t know the difference!

  3. Part of a social network, in my opinion, is the expectation of a certain level of trust. To start off a new “social” network having violated that trust from the jump seems a bit counter-productive.

  4. Put a real-world angle on this- If you “bought” a bunch of friends, wouldn’t they be less likely want to hang out and build a relationship than those whom you personally cultivated a friendship with?

    Maybe they will use the information for an easy one-click registration sent via a personal email invitation – verses just starting with the site pre-populated. If the site that is behind this is a big brand that you already know and trust, it could get legs?

    I agree with everyone here. But like Vicki, I probably wouldn’t notice. However, I am just not sure I have the time for yet another social network.

  5. Social Networking and niche social networking must have users in order to function, but where is the “lightbulb” moment where you discover a place that is full of people like you. Social Networks that are successful are that way because people want to be there, not because their name and info was purchased. Thanks for bringing this up. We will be sure to keep our eyes out for its release and will cover it on realestateyouropinion.com

  6. John,

    Yeah… Spock takes the idea to a whole new level in that they appear to be crawling the web in order to create a profile for individuals. I haven’t signed up to “claim” my account because I never liked the idea behind the site.

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