8/24/07

PlayboyU, Bunnies got Bounce

PlayboyU announced the launch of a college only community on Ning. Owen Thomas of Valleywag told CNBC doesn't think the bunny has any bounce, but I disagree. Basically because there is a need for "gated communities" online especially among students as everyone essentially invades their Myspaces and Facebooks. The front page successfully conveys the sense of an exclusive club and Mashable has screenshots of inside pages which look very robust and uniquely designed. The front page also stresses that the visitor is "not allowed" and you have to apply with an ".edu" email address to get in. People respond well to being told that they can't have something, it makes them want it. And the fact that you have to be in college (or at least have an .edu email) makes it prone to socially desirables. Myspace and the dating sites have gotten so big that it's essentially impossible to trust the people you meet there and Facebook is being invaded by old (post 22) people including parents, employers, teachers and all the people a college student would like not to have access to their personal (fun) relationships.

The big winner here is Ning, which sadly has a very forgettable and meaningless name. There is a need for targeted, customized smaller social networking sites and the PlayboyU community gives it a big jolt of credibility. And because they've launched many communities already they know what to watch out for. I belong to a few communities on Ning, the largest being and the Playboy pages look a million times slicker. Both Myspace and Facebook have group functions but it's secondary to the individual memberships. Ning makes it primary.

Kendra, the youngest of Hef's girlfriends and one of the stars of "Girls Next Door" has a huge presence on Myspace and has used it for a host of marketing opportunities. The strength of the brand offers a multitude of promotional rewards to being a member of PlayboyU.

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