Archive for December, 2009

The L Word

launchI’m sure most of you will know how I’m feeling right now. Relaxed. Happy. Excited. Looking forward to the future. A bit overstressed too. That’s how everybody feels after Launch Day. I’ve been working on two projects for almost a year now, one at work and another as a personal business with a friend of mine, and fate wanted them to eventually launch on the same week. The last month has been pretty crazy and that’s why there hasn’t been much activity around here.

So what has kept me busy? Glad you asked. At work I’ve been working on with several people on a social videogame magazine called OnGames as an evolution to the now resting in peace Most videogame magazines rely solely on the editorial team to write of the content, specially the one promoted on the home page, but with OnGames we want to give more visibility and a louder voice to useers who want to talk about the games they like (or not). As of now it’s only in Spanish and will probably be that way for at least quite some time.

The other project, which just launched yesterday, is onSwingers, a social network for swingers. The fact that they’re named similarly is just a coincidence. What makes onSwingers so special and worth working on? Right now there are several erotic/adult dating sites, the most famous being Adult Friend Finder, but all of those sites share the same problems:

  • Anyone can register, so there are a lot of fake or unused profiles. We’re using a different approach by relying on users to invite their friends. Only being invited by an existing member can you sign up to the network. Additionally, we’ll be partnering with several swinger clubs all over the world to reach more potential users where just word of mouth would be difficult to get to. In any case, while possible, it will be harder to get into the network without being an active swinger.
  • They have a crappy design and a very basic set of options for users. They’ve been around forever, so they have LOTS of users and they can get away with being lazy and sit around to collect the profits. We built a very clean and usable site from a design point of view with lots of useful features (and more to come in the near future). The kind of site you would expect to launch in the Web 2.0 era, as opposed to the 90s look that most of the competition offer.
  • There’s no way to know if a profile is fake, and a lot of them are. We understand that in the Internet you can’t never be 100% sure of anything, and many famous scandals prove it. Nonetheless, we think we can help users figure out if a profile is fake by providing a set of tools. First, there are verifications. Users verify other profiles they’ve met in person thus telling other people they are real, and only verified people can verify others. We verified the first batch of users so they can start the process. And then there’s some information you can check in a user’s profile, like if you have common friends or see who was the user who invited him or her in the first place.
  • They’re very expensive. We think an Internet business shouldn’t cost that much when it’s easy for you to easily scale the service to support more users. We’re still deciding on the price (until Q2 of 2010 it’ll be free), but it’ll definitely be cheaper than the +$30 per month people pay to use AdultFriendFinder, and as opposed to the most of those sites, we’ll also offer a period of 100% unrestricted access for free.

Those are just some of the benefits onSwingers has over other adult dating sites, and that’s why I think it will do great. Right now it’s only available in Spanish but if you’d like to know more you can read the official blog or watch a video tour. You’ll definitely be hearing more from it in the coming months. It’s funny how some people look at a product’s launch as the light at the end of the tunnel, the end of something, when it’s actually its birth, the beginning of everything.