by Larry Magid
Scroll down to listen to a podcast interview with Tseng
Tagged.com CEO Greg Tseng knows how to face reality. The company, which has been around for seven years, used to compete directly with MySpace and then Facebook. But, said Tseng, “In 2007 we decided relatively early on in the game that we actually weren’t going to win.” It was then that the company got “into a space that we now call social discovery.” In other words, Tseng has no intention of competing with Facebook when it comes to keeping up with old friends. Facebook owns that space. Tagged is squarely in the business of helping members meet new people.
Not just dating and flirting
Tseng estimates that about half of Tagged’s members are interested in dating or flirting and the rest are looking for other types of relationships. “We have plenty of people who are married, who are in serious relationships or otherwise are not on the site for romantic or flirting reasons. Meeting people for lots of different reasons is a core need that everyone has.” In addition to dating and flirting, many of Tagged users are looking for people who share interests ranging from sports, to food to politics, to parenting to what Tagged calls “social games.” Tagged has a “find groups” page where members can chose from a wide range of interests.
He said that the site used to mainly attract teens but now reaches a much broader demographic. The average age is in the 30s but “we have a wide range of ages from the teens to 50 and older,” he said.
Acquisition of hi5 doubles active users
In December Tagged acquired hi5 a social network with 200 million registered users and, said Tseng, 10 million users who are active on a monthly basis. “The hi5 acquisition doubled Tagged active users to 20 million, he said, “and grows combined registered users past 330 million members.” Tagged and hi5 will initially operate as two “independent and freestanding brands,”according to a company press release.
About half of Tagged’s users, said Tseng are interested in dating or flirting. The rest have other interests such as finding people to play games with or explore interests in the physical world such as dining, spots and other activities. He called meeting people, “a core human need.” Tseng said that the company “once did a survey asking ‘have you met anyone on Tagged that later you met in real life’ and about 70% of our active users said they had done that.”
Tseng said the site offers users lots of safety tips including “how to conduct your life online and offline in a safe manner,” including “If you choose to have a face-to-face meeting, always tell a friend or family member where you are going and when you will return, meet in a public place with many people around, provide your own transportation, do not agree to be picked up at your home.” Good advice.
More from around the web
Tagged Acquires Facebook Competitor Hi5 (Wall Street Journal blog)
Underdog Social Network Tagged, is Building a “Pandora for People” (San Francisco Chronicle)
Disclosure: Larry Magid is co-director of ConnectSafely.org, a non-profit Internet safety organization that receives financial support from Tagged and several other Internet and social networking companies.