Recently we’ve seen the rise of a new wave of startups that give far more control back to users. They have avoided the public nature of Twitter and the – sometimes toxic – vagueness of Facebook which has happily moved from a private network to one where, frankly, you’re never quite sure what is public or not. Huh, Randi.
Instead, new networks like Snapchat, are attempting to give back control to the users. In the same way, UK-based Diary.com has emerged to ride that wave of user choice. The startup is now announcing it’s raised $1.2 million from a network of private investors. Terms were not disclosed.
While founder Keld Van Shreven tells us: “We want to to build a major consumer company out of the UK with an eye on the Valley and the US. We’re aiming to continue to grow the product, expand in the US, and hire.”
We’ve written about Diary.com in the past and described it as a scrapbook for the Twitter generation. Since then the company has pivoted under Van Shreven and decided to ride the wave of ‘user control’. The bet appears to have paid off. He says the site is now “growing like a weed.”
Diary.com now says its users are coming from UK, U.S., Asia and Brazil. It’s highly used by young women, one of the hardest demographics to reach. Van Shreven now says the site has 2 Million active users and it’s now pulling in advertisers wanting to push fashion, makeup and music to a young female audience.
Pivoting away from microblogging, Diary.com is now about text, pictures and, crucially, the ability to share both publicly and privately to a select group.
Indeed, the site now plans a Snapchat-like feature allowing the ability to share post which automatically get deleted after a short period.
This is kind of feature is increasingly important for teens and especially young women, but also something that addresses the problem of cyber-bullying, which has seen so many tragic ends recently, especially as depicted in the British press. Ask.fm, for instance, was recently cited as a contributing factor in the bullying of a teen who later committed suicide.
Diary.com allows its audience to sound off to a private network of friends, without being ridiculed in public.
With its familiar, Pinterest-like interface, user controls, simple URL and mobile products in the pipeline, Diary.com looks like it might be a break-out hit after-all, and after a good while trying.