As the success of sites such as MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Classmates, and Geni have demonstrated, viral marketing can be a very effective tool to help build social networks that appeal to a wide range of people for a number of different reasons. Beyond the specific markets that they focus on, these sites have fundamental differences in how they acquire new users, generate revenue, and grow their business.
But what all of the most successful social networks have in common is that theyve perfected what I like to call a “catch and keep” model. From the first time a user signs up for a MySpace, or a Facebook, they find themselves sucked into spending hours on the site, and feel compelled to both return on a regular basis, and drag their friends into their network. As recent data demonstrates, the top social networks are among the highest trafficked and stickiest sites on the web.