RealTime IT News

Imeem Launches P2P Social Network

The already crowded social networking space added another player today with the launch of Imeem.

The service aims to stand out with privacy features, a strong open source foundation, integrated IM, blogging, file- and photo-sharing features.

Imeem takes its name from the concept of the "meme," a thought or an idea that takes on a life of its own.

Like most social networking sites, Imeem will have discussion areas. Unlike most of its peers though, Imeem is a hybrid P2P social network.

That means most data actually resides on the user's PC as opposed to a hosted Web site. "Circles of trust" are defined by the user who allows access only to certain individuals. Blogs, pictures, file-sharing and IM further complement the social network.

Beyond permission-based access to the blogs, files, IM and discussion areas, communication in the Imeem network is secured by the AES advanced encryption standard .

"We wrote Imeem so that it would be easy for people to create their own personal private networks so that way they can bridge the gap between being landlocked on their PCs and not having to completely give up control of the content they want to share," Dalton Caldwell, co-founder and CEO, told internetnews.com.

Though the social networking scene is already crowded with the likes of Yahoo! 360,Google's Orkut, LinkedIn, Friendster and others, Caldwell sees an opportunity.

"They are just Web-based ways to meet people, do dating stuff or professional stuff in the LinkedIn case," Caldwell argued. In his view, the secure personal private network Imeem makes the service seamless and easy to securely communicate and collaborate on a number of levels.

Imeem owes a lot to open source tools, in particular Novell's Mono project, an open source implementation of the .NET framework. Jan Jannink, co-founder and CTO, said IMeem uses Mono on Linux on the server side.

"While our own code is proprietary, we have been working closely with the Mono team to submit bugs," Jannick said. "We've also worked with MySQL by submitting bugs and fixes where we could."

Imeem's business model is based on advertising, currently offering Google Adsense as well as Amazon sponsored links.

"We do believe that advertising is a viable business model," Caldwell said. "And we do think that one of the things that Imeem lets us do is provide really relevant advertising is a really personalized way."