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Kensington, Prince Edward Island, Canada, 2011/01/06 - Networking Partners first foray into the social space was to develop KoiniClub. With 120,000 members and growing, the site is giving the company valuable data on which to build their strategy. New updates are expected to increase this growth - NetworkingP.
Networking Partners, Inc. announced today that they have opened the registration of the site to limited number of members over the age of 18. Jorge Sariego, Technical Director says “We initial had two sites one for those under 18, one for over 18s but that quickly became problematic for many reasons. What we decided to do, and we believe this is a first for a social network, is have protections for under 18s. The under 13 verification process and parental controls still stand as they were but we have also added in another layer. If someone over 18 wants to contact someone under 18 they must know their email address. The younger member is warned that the person trying to friend them is over 18 and to make sure they know who it is etc. We are also alerted so we can take a look. There are other complications that we solved but this was the main one of concern. Now we have one site which has protection and moderation for under 18s and privacy and functionality for those over 18”.
As well as open registration Koini Club will also be getting a new internal layout and additional functionality which “Rather than launch a site with all the bells and whistles we added functionality as we went along, essentially as our members demanded it. This strategy has allowed us to keep focused on what members want, not what we think they might want. That has lead, on several other sites, to functionality that people just don’t use. We want everything to be useful” says Sariego.
Recent updates have included the addition of chat, an internal currency called ‘Koini Credits’, a segmented video section which interacts with the competitions and most recently a revamped image sharing section “The new gallery section is pretty awesome, it will be live in a short while” said Sariego.
Beyond the gallery section update Koini is working on a new design that has taken some time to crystallize. “We spend a lot of time throwing ideas back and forth and the design is one of those that we spent a lot of time on, not necessarily the look and feel, but the functionality that would be within” said Sariego.
That functionality will be a three columned look with dynamic sections that make browsing and discovering friends quicker. It will also integrate more with the competitions and have more information available on-page that has been customized by the member through ‘gadgets’. The gadgets are like mini-applications that can give various functionality from listening to music to a list of friend’s birthdays for that day. “When we open the API, people will be able to build gadgets for the site, it will open up all sorts of potential for members and developers. The gadgets are not as complicated as an application would be, but they can add some very cool functionality to the site” said Sariego.
Wrapped up within new look is the commercial section of the site. Having already integrated the Shiny Ads platform Networking Partners are keen to monetize the site with innovative advertising. “Shiny ads is a solution for automating the process of businesses advertising on the site. We have integrated it but haven’t switched in on yet, simple because we are waiting for the launch of the new design. Also we have been working to change the look and feel to be more in keeping with our site.” Said Sariego
The advertising route is available to the company and they are also developing alternatives. “We are working on developing a commercial pages section that has some unique features and opportunities for businesses to get their message out there which we believe will prove lucrative for both ourselves and our client companies. We are going through the usual process of everybody chipping in ideas and it is going very well. We expect to begin development very soon with a beta launch in the first quarter”
With the Koini platform being developed, valuable lessons are being learned for other potential projects of Networking Partners Inc. CEO Pino Baldassarre says “The Koini platform allows us to receive real life feedback from people all over the world. We have been able to ask about geo-location technology, group buying platforms and other social networks, it is like having a very large and broad focus group to gather data from. It gives us a good idea what people are using, what they are not using and what kind of things they went”
With this data at hand the management of Networking Partners Inc is able to prioritize which areas they will be targeting for further development and acquisition. Baldassarre said “This space is a very hot topic at the moment. The socialization of many traditional business models will continue to occur over the coming months and years creating huge opportunities for companies like ours and our investors. Our aim is to be ahead of the curve as much as possible and we believe we are in a very good position to be just that with the new updates coming for our main platform”.
About Networking Partners, Inc.
Networking Partners, Inc. (networkingpartners.com) was formed to develope, acquire and invest in social technologies. The first development in the social space has been to build koiniclub.com. The site was initially developed as a pre-teen and teen social network that has innovative parental controls and verification for those under 13. It quickly became popular, due to a referral based competition engine built into the system, gaining 120,000+ members in 6 months and rising at 400-1000 per day.
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