Back in February, in a small acquisition, UK mobile services provider 3Bill acquired UK social network Profile Heaven for an undisclosed sum. The idea was to integrate the youth-focused social network with 3Bill’s mobile software and content platform. Then in October, they also bought the nine year old Face-pic.com, a global photo-sharing site boasting around 700,000 users.
Now the resulting site has emerged. Faces is aiming to be the tall-order of “not just another social network”. Unfortunately, it looks more or less like MySpace clone, but let’s hear them out.
Here’s their idea: Faces.com is a picture-based, entertainment-focused social network. Users can upload pictures, interact through chat or messenger and earn “Faces Tokens” to spend on merchandise or activities. A key feature is ‘Faces Islands’. With this users can colonise their own virtual island communities with their friends and colleagues. They select the island they want and can then send messages “in bottles”, and photos “in the waterfall”. Users can run their own island and appoint frineds as “staff”. You can travel from island to island visiting the public communities and applying for “Visas” to visit the private ones. Assuming this works.
The background to this is that Faces started as an Australian social network in 2004, focused on multi-media sharing, but it struggled until being picked up by 3Bill, the mobile division of Symbios Group and incorporated the existing ProfileHeaven.com (now re-directing to Faces.com) social network and Face-pic, also owned by Symbios. Faces has an existing user base of 400,000 users.
In theory then, the new Faces will launch with a million members, but in reality this is anyone’s guess.
The CEO of Symbios Group is Martin Montague while Symbios is based in Southampton, UK.
Somehow I don’t see this flying, especially given that Bebo the big site in this demographic and they have yet to try gimmicks like islands. And with the with the majority of Faces members being 13-24 years old, the site will be subject to strict guidelines on content. At least the URL is pretty good.