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Everyone’s related

Social networks continue to gain in popularity, and it’s no surprise that niche social networks have started to emerge.

Take Geni .. the social network aimed at family relatives. It has an extremely nice family tree interface, which lets you add in your relatives. Pretty soon, those relatives add their relatives .. and the tree grows. My tree started with about 10 people and within 2 weeks now has nearly 100 entries. (only the first 10 were added by me).

Geni also is a great place for storing family photo albums. Unfortunately it doesn’t allow you to embed photos from Photobucket or Flickr, so for now at least people will have to upload photos to Geni. And Geni is well funded recently raising 100 million in investment.

Perspective: I’d like to see some of the face recognition features of Riya ( built into to the tool. Nevertheless, as someone who lives away from most of my relatives, this is a great online tool to stay in touch with latest photos, and also provides the perfect tool for the inevitable family tree kids assignments.

Update: Video review of Geni from Technology Evangelist.

Crowdsourcing designs

Sitepoint is a business that is linking businesses requiring design services such as logos, flash banners or web pages with freelance designers.

The site describes it’s service like this

Here’s how it works:

1. Write a short design brief describing what you want done.
2. Choose one (or more) prize amounts you’re willing to offer.
3. Post your contest and watch as Designers from all over the world submit design concepts.
4. Provide feedback on each entry, pick a winner, and pay out the prize money directly to the designer.
5. Once payment is made, all rights to the winning design will be transferred from the Designer to you.

It’s that simple!

Judging from the contests on offer, businesses are paying 200 to 300 for a logo which is pretty good value .. given they are often getting 20 to 50 entries.

Perspective: Whilst the payments aren’t huge .. this is a great way for budding designers to connect with potential clients, as well as establish some reference sites.

Personalised Dolls

Here’s another example of personalising a product .. this time Dolls.


The company was created after a couple created Dolls of themselves to help their daughter adjust to day care. The idea spread through word of mouth, and now Tiny Pocket People ships dolls all over the world.

Perspective: This is a great concept. I wonder why they don’t sell kits so that you can “make your own” doll … perhaps that is one for the patchwork quilting industry to run with. Perhaps the next version should include a small mp3 player that plays pre-recorded sounds of the person the doll is modelled on.

Banner ads .. leave an impression

Lots has been said about banner ads not delivering results, but a new study called An Examination of Different Explanations for the Mere Exposure Effect shows that banner ads do leave an impression.

Most of the exposure occurs when there are gaps in the flow of things requiring attention, such as flipping through a magazine, waiting for a tv show to start, or ironically while surfing the web during a tv ad break. Ads can be repeated up to 20 times without wearing out their impression on audiences. These brief ad exposures lead to familiarity and create warm positive feelings according to the report.

Perspective: There are many ways to buy online ads these days and combining the correct choice of creative, and advertising network can be an extremely cost effective communication method.