When in doubt, launch an adult social networking site creator. Yes, that'll work.

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Last year yet another ‘build your own social network’ appeared. SocialGO was a white-label social networking site creator spun out of UK company Bright Things. SocialGO lets you create an online community website which is either stand-alone or inside an existing website. All the usual features like IM, content-sharing for photos and videos, blogging tools etc are there.

Clearly things may not have gone to plan though. There are any number of these companies. Let me see now (deep breath) Ning, PeopleAggregator, SocialSpring, OneSite, GoingOn, CrowdVine, Mzinga, Haystack, CollectiveX, Moli, KickApps, DZOIC, Pringo, SmallWorldLabs and in the UK, WebJam and Kwiqq. And all of them arrived well before SocialGO. Ning of course has Marc Andreessen as Chairman and well over 100 million dollars in funding.

So what’s the answer? What can be user-generated virtually for free, is in high demand and creates a lot of traffic? Yes! Porn!

Thus, Zocku.com, a white label social networking platform dedicated to adult networks which has SocialGO as its underlying platform, has been money-shot into existence.

Apparently there are already plenty of customers with one “generating in excess of $5,000 a month in ad revenue and membership fees.” One client says Zocku.com “has created a more complete and satisfying experience for Ruffkin’s members.” I’m sure it has.

In other words, it may well be the case that SocialGO launched and then found itself inundated with porn merchants, as happened to Ning – something which nearly destroyed the company until it banned them.

The question only remains. How Bright did Bright Things have to be to dream this move up? The words “not” and “very” spring to mind.

  • http://blog.taragana.com/ Angsuman Chakraborty

    Why is it so surprising that social networking has come to porn. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a twitter variant dedicated to porn, wait that’s a huge-money-making business idea.

    • PH


  • Martin

    Why are you saying they are not very bright for starting this? Ning provided a free service and this company is charging for it, I’m sure there are plenty of adult performers who would pay for a hosted solution like this to serve their fans and collect membership fees from them.

    • http://uk.techcrunch.com Mike Butcher

      I’m saying that any dumbo can create a platform for porn and make money. What clearly almost certainly happened was that SocialGo was a flop so they’ve switch the platform into the adult market. Fine. They’ll make money and so will their users. But it’s still a climbdown.

      • Duh

        What are you on about?

        Porn is a highly professional, competitive business. Most porn sites are way more advanced than the average start-up. It’s a valid, multi-million dollar/euro/pound business, with a very wide audience. How the f*** is this a climbdown?

        I’ve seen this kind of moralistic crap before from Techcrunch “omg, hookers!” US. Wasn’t expecting it from you, but apparently Techcrunch systematically selects it’s bloggers on puritanical prejudices.

      • Carl M

        Mike – You say “What clearly almost certainly happened was that SocialGo was a flop so they’ve switch the platform into the adult market. Fine. They’ll make money and so will their users. But it’s still a climbdown.”

        Ok – I guess you have some insight that I do not. I guess that you know how many networks they have, what % are paying for the SocialGO premium services and if you have a handle on their cash burn that would be great too…

        If not, please don’t be so forceful in your comments because people less perceptive than I may take your comments more seriously than they should!

        I think that what clearly almost certainly happened is that you did not know how SocialGO were getting on, you saw the zocku product and were short of something to wright about…the rest is history…

        I’m being serious about that insight by the way, if you know thier costs and can have an informed stab at their income then I will concede that you are able to talk about what has and hasn’t flopped…

        Speaking of flops, I read that Ning is now worth $750M…Hang on an minute….

        Networks – 1M+ …. Check
        Premium subscribers – 12k (down from 15k…hmmm) …. Check
        Revenue – circa $1M per month … Check
        Costs – circa $3M per month … hmmm, ok, check
        Valuation – $750M … wtf, are you tacking the p..s?! lol

  • Objective Observer

    So, let me check my understanding of your logic Mike:

    In today’s difficult economic climate, a publicly traded company comes along and delivers a solution “out of the blue” that solves the problem held by literally thousands of adult site owners who were turned away by Ning, and allows them to make roughly $60k a year or more doing so. In the process, this company is able to generate premium membership fees from these customers who previously were giving their money to a VC funded company, Ning.

    Did I get your story correct?

    If so, then I ask you to puhleaaaase explain to me why we should not all be flocking to SocialGO and the guys who helped them develop a solution so quickly. Because, unlike Twitter and all the rest of the non-profitable companies you gush over daily on TechCrunch, it seems that SocialGO/Zocku has made it possible for people to make more money running their own personal porn site than you do as a “writer” for TechCrunch?

    As far as I understand, SocialGO is not only doing just as well with mainstream Network Creators, but is now better off than ever because Ning has screwed over their Network Creators (once again) and virtually ensured that everyone is flocking to SocialGO.


    It seems that this little bit of news was purposefully not covered by TechCrunch because Mr. Arrington has made it his personal job to defend all things Ning. The tone of your article, in the face of the objective facts, is further proof of his “agenda”.

    Would the appearance of Mr. Andreessen at TC50, or Mr. Arrington’s frequent calls and lunches with Ms. Bianchini have anything to do with such biased reporting on your part?

    • http://uk.techcrunch.com Mike Butcher

      Yeah and there was no moon landing either, right? Your conspiracy theory might work if TechCrunch Europe was run by Mike Arrington, but it’s not. TC Europe is part of the network of TC sites. I don’t even know who this Bianchini person is.

      Look – Ning pissed of pornsters. Pornsters are flocking to Zocku? Is that what you think? Then fine, have it your way. All I’m saying is that Zocku is evidence that SocialGO failed as a concept ad made *so much* money for Bright Things they simply had to go and create a porn platform because that’s the only way they were going to get any return. That’s a fail in my book.

      • Objective Observer

        Wow, so what you’re saying Mike is that a company is a “fail” because at some point in time (that you select arbitrarily) they are making money for a significant group of customers who have cash to spend?

        Is this true even if SocialGO is not only growing, but growing exponentially? Will this brilliant bit of logic on your part be true if SocialGO is found to be generating net profit at the same time as Bright Things is also making money on Zocku?

        Using your logic Mike, a company is a “fail” because they actually satisfy the needs of their customers and make a profit in the process. This is actually appropriate for someone who writes for Tech Crunch (Europe or otherwise) because it demonstrates why the Venture Capital game is completely in the toilet.

        So called “journalists” such as yourself pump up the value of companies that take millions in VC money to accomplish what could be done using regular old-fashioned business sense. Remember the idea of a business Mike? It’s called making something that your customers want to pay you to have.

        Oh yeah, you’re the Tech Crunch “journalist” who supposedly claims to not even know who Gina Bianchini is. Give me a break. How about Prince Charles, ever hear of him?

      • http://uk.techcrunch.com Mike Butcher

        Your personal attacks are very dull and show scant wit. I’d be more impressed if you put your real name to your views but no. Bon chance mon amis.

      • Ed Johnson

        ” All I’m saying is that Zocku is evidence that SocialGO failed as a concept ad made *so much* money for Bright Things they simply had to go and create a porn platform because that’s the only way they were going to get any return. That’s a fail in my book.”

        Oh come now.. If SocialGO changed their focus to a differnet topic.. say, Video Games, Science/Technology, Home and Gardening, Cooking, etc.. would it still be a fail?

        It seems to me that they were trying to be over-arching with their “Sell ANY kind of Social Network!” platform, which wasn’t working (with free social networks coming out of the wazooo) so they responded to the will of the market. Good for them!

  • http://jackthorogood.com Jack

    Good for SocialGo. Looks like they’ve got a strong revenue stream that’ll probably help them become profitable quite quickly.

    SocNets are a good way for adult performers to build and maintain a following and – regardless of your moral qualms – the actual performer building value as a brand has got to put them in a stronger position vis-a-vis the proverbial pimps, which must be a good thing?






    in case you’d like to find a story worth writing about

  • ninging
  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rob_Clayburn/502878075 Rob Clayburn

    I have to agree with the majority of the commenters here.
    What is wrong with a company changing strategy? To my mind that shows flexibility and adaptability in a competitive and difficult market. So what if their initial project didn’t succeed, they adapted found a niche and are happily making money
    Mike, is it the fact that you are morally against pornography that makes you write such a scathing post? Or perhaps its just another example of how the British really hate to see people being successful??

    “The question only remains. How Bright did Bright Things have to be to dream this move up? The words “not” and “very” spring to mind.”

    Well my answer would be, brighter than a lot of those other sites you mentioned that are struggling to gain traction, and are still struggling to find a business model.

    • http://uk.techcrunch.com Mike Butcher

      I’m afraid you misinterpret me. I merely think that taking the adult route is a lazy and uninteresting one. I wish them luck but, like I said, any joe schmo can make cash out of adult content.

      • Sam

        I think constantly laying into people and companies is lazy – a problem that makes TC less and less interesting. Can’t you even try to be a bit more objective? You sorta have a point, but as per usual make it so subjectively you lose the audience – the comments seem to back this up.

        PS people post anonomously cos they don’t want to get a load of abuse from you appearing in Google next to their name.

      • Chris J

        It would be interesting to know whether SocialGo’s owners wanted to be interesting or whether they wanted to make money. Im guessing they would take the lazy and uninteresting tag if it came with a big pay cheque.

        Speaking of Google, dont they put apllications live without having a clear defined set of revenue streams? Instead they look at how the application or service is used in order get ideas of how to capitalise.

  • Gab

    btw it’s “bonne chance mon ami” not “Bon chance mon amis”

  • http://www.okfling.com Eric

    adult social networking can work, we do it

    • S

      You are doing adult social networking? Can I ask you a few questions about it?

  • http://www.socialgo.com Dominic Wheatley

    Hey Guys –

    I sent a fairly detailed explanation of company policy here at Bright Things, but for some reason it has not appeared. Have I been censored?

    Dominic Wheatley
    CEO Bright Things/SocialGO

  • http://www.socialgo.com Steve Hardman

    Hi All,

    I think the thread pretty much speaks for itself. But Mike’s assumption that Zocku was launched because SocialGO failed really has no foundation nor logic.

    Zocku was created because the adult networks have distinct needs that can be better catered for on a dedicated platform. Also, non-adult networks prefer not to be amongst adult networks for obvious reasons. By having a separate platform it keeps everyone happy. Its really that simple.

    While SocialGO has only been out of beta for a little over 7 weeks, it signs-up around 400 non-adult networks everyday and membership of its ever expanding number of networks is growing at a solid rate. So far from failing, it is actually performing well beyond our expectations and looks to have a very bright future.

    I hope that clears things up a little.

    Steve Hardman
    Co-founder SocialGO/Zocku

  • purple

    i am at my wit’s end to understand why TC won’t do a story on NING’s recent troublesome decision There has bee a hell of hue and cry among network creators….

    #1. NING thinks privacy isn’t a serious issue at all, so all the profiles are public by default.

    #2. Members of different social networks can contact with one another with no one having a clue who viewed his profile or why did he/she received a friend request from other network members or why some one else can view their friendlist …

    #3. All the companies have the right to change their TOS as ad when required, but the least they do, the more trusted they become. NING has changed it’s TOS more than thrice in last one year, all to the dismay of it’s members

    #4. the current one is the last straw. network creators are feeling they have been used. they want run away from NING and migrate to other network, but Ning wont release their content.

    #5. NING said create your own network, now it’s create a network for NING. Spread the word, get the numbers bring traffic thinking that you are working on your own network, however the truth is you are making a network fro them, and if tomorrow you create noise about getting used, they wont mind banning your account or throwing you out….

    #6. NING is a scam. TC do an open poll asking NC of (500 members + networks ) given a chance to move out of ning with migration of all of their content, what would they do? they would immediately jump off the NING…

    we are helplessly stuck at ning, with no idea what to do next?

    • http://www.socialgo.com Dominic Wheatley

      Errrmmm……why not try SocialGO (I do have a vested interest of course :)

  • http://networkcreators.ning.com/forum/topics/signature-campaign?groupUrl=networkcreatorsgeneraldiscu purple

    if you more proof about what’s happening at NING.. check this link , a signature campaign by NC against the recent developments….


  • bluesuede

    LOL, don’t wait for TC to put out a critical story of ning. unless it comes straight out of the corporate press release, you wont here it on TC

  • kumar

    is socialgo a porn site? i mean can’t we just create a network with socialgo without the porn? and btw, how does the porn enter the network set up by a socialgo site? does socialgo send the porn ???

  • Mastablubba

    Hellow People

    just watched this hot prat Shaking Video on youtube…

    check it out!

    May you can share something similar.

    happy watching

  • Angel

    “Steve Hardman
    Co-founder SocialGO/Zocku Zocku was created because the adult networks have distinct needs that can be better catered for on a dedicated platform. Also, non-adult networks prefer not to be amongst adult networks for obvious reasons. By having a separate platform it keeps everyone happy. Its really that simple.”

    Everyone is happy is a wrong assumption. I wasn’t immediately aware when i created my network on SG that SG was associated with the pornography platform zocku. Some of us don’t want to be confronted with the persistent adult references from zocku’s members on the owners.socialgo and getsatisfaction forums. Why can’t you keep the 2 completely seperate & give zocku owners their own forums & if they don’t have it already, their own support desk? Please can you respond to this Steve Hardman.

  • O.J.


  • http://www.socialparody.com Sean Brogna

    I don’t really think network creators are happy to pay a premium for a platform with constant problems.

    With or without the problems, network creators now have a choice between Socialgo.com and Socialparody.com, a free dedicated adult platform without all the problems and expenses.

  • act like

    check out this adult social network


  • http://allthebestcams.blogspot.com/ Jason

    Whenever there is an opening/opportunity for money to be made someone will slip in to exploit it.

    People who don’t like adult social networking sites or have a problem with all the new sites that are coming out, or any porn site for that matter simply need to stay away from them.

    The adult industry is extremely profitable and people will try any way possible to make money from it.

    Enough said

  • http://www.xadultbook.com adult facebook

    I’d actually argue that the adult niche is getting overall harder to make money in. Adult social networking is an interesting idea, I guess we will see if it ever goes anywhere…

  • http://www.mannago.com Mannago

    I am not sure why people are doubting the business of Adult porn. If you do your research correctly, targeting a micro-niche is not hard at all to make enough for a living. The market will never saturate and content will forever be available as long as mankind exists. Go look for your money keyword and you should be set, I dont believe in “harder to make money”, nothing is impossible in terms of finding ways to generate an income, especially from the porn industry!

  • James Allen

    The problem with all of the social network platform sites that allow others to create a social networking site of there own is this, they charge a fee. Creating a social networking site should be totally free of charge with a revenue split 50/50 between the social network platform owner and persons who created a social networking site through there platform. If social network platform owners continue to charge others to create there own social networking site, they are going to eventually fold. Revenue sharing is the key to becoming success.

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