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Multiply.com Tries The 'Anti-MySpace.com' Approach

In the past year, sites such as MySpace, YouTube and Facebook have turned online social-networking into viable industry. Six- and seven-figure monetization deals will do that.

Multiply.com wants a piece.

Multiply CEO Peter Pezaris told internetnews.com his network is a place where adults can communicate with their offline network of friends.

Multiply facilitates communication through blogs and messaging, but digital video and photography are the stars of this show, Pezaris said.

"There are a hundred million digital cameras going to be sold this year and almost all of them can take video," Pezaris said. "The market for helping the everyman share digital content is the biggest market of all."

Before it sounds too much like Multiply wants to take on popular video and photo-sharing sites YouTube or Flickr, Pezaris said the big difference between sharing on Multiply and sharing on those sites comes down to intended audience.

Pezaris said that YouTubers upload their videos for the world to see. When users upload a photo on Multiply, it's basically the same scenario as when people used to mail copies of their photos out to family and friends before everyone stopped using film.

"I'm a regular guy and I think most people are just regular guys who take pictures of their family their friends, their parties, their barbecues and their vacations," Pezaris said. "Multiply is about giving a relevant audience to those photos."

That relevance could be boosted in the new version 3.0 of Multiply.

Multiply 3.0 includes a new home page which looks and works much like Facebook's news feed: the page identifies whenever someone in a users' social network has uploaded new photos, videos or other posts.

A new My Network page allows users a detailed view their social network. Multiply's My Site page boasts new drag-and-drop AJAX  tools to improve the look and feel.

Version 3.0 also features AJAX-based photo and video uploading tools, which Pezaris claimed are the best on the Internet.

"We do some neat tricks behind the scenes," Pezaris said. "Some of the things we're doing here are going to seem impossible from a Web developer's prospective," Pezaris said.

According to HitWise, demand is growing for the social technology services Multiply offers. The market researcher said one in 20 U.S. Internet visits went to social networking sites in September 2006, or double the number from the year ago period.

Multiply, which market research firm HitWise ranked only 167 out of Net communities and chat rooms, enjoyed a 37 percent growth from October 2005 to October 2006.

Pezaris said Multiply has seen user posts multiple from 10,000 to 70,000 per day.

But the most successful suppliers for that demand are already well entrenched.

According to the same Hitwise report, MySpace received 82 percent of visits among the top 20 leading social networks. YouTube grew visits by 249 percent, while photography community site Flickr increased its eyeball share by 49 percent.



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