Dogster (and sister site Catster), which turned two last January, now has competition in the pet social network space from a newcomer – Massachusetts based PawSpot. The new company was founded by Mark Roberge.
The PawSpot site is still in beta and there aren’t many users yet (Dogster has 260,000 pets and gains about 700 new pets per day). However, it’s also taking a much different approach to serving pet owners than Dogster/Catster.
First, on PawSpot a human profile is included along with a pet profile, and users are encouraged to become “friends”. Dogster does not allow any personal information about a person to be included on their site – its for pets only. However, Dogster also encourages pets to become friends, linking them on the site.
Second, while Dogster focuses on being a showcase for featured pets, a place to show them off, PawSpot seems to be aiming to provide much needed services to pet owners. In particular, arranging for friends to take care of each other’s pets while away on vacation, and finding local dog parks.
For now I’m staying with Dogster. It’s too much trouble to move the page I have up for my dog Laguna over to a new site. Also, Dogster is a refreshing break from other social networks, which always seem to degenerate (by plan or otherwise) into dating sites (well, except for LinkedIn, I guess). The lack of any personal information ensures that.