David Hasselhoff, Social Networks and the rise of the micro-niche
Monday, 20 October 2008 — by Wayne Smallman
David “The Hoff” Hasselhoff has his very own Social Network. And good luck to him, too! For now is the time of the micro-niche…
The number of people getting onto the Internet is growing daily, and each of those new citizens of this digital realm have their very own tastes, fancies and fantasies. Places like Facebook and StumbleUpon in particular accelerate the time between initial search and the discovery of something appropriate to their needs.
So you don’t like Jamaican steel band music, or Nordic walking, eh? There’s a damn good chance somebody does! And if there’s enough of those that do with access to the Internet, well, you’ve got the makings of a potential audience for your would-be Social Network.
David Hasselhoff has / as a Social Network?!
The one truly remarkable thing about really bad ideas is that they are, to an extent, self-regulating — anything that’s really bad will fall by the way side one way or another. Why? Unless they’re lucky enough to hit cult status for some bizarre reason — which is a massive reach, but not unknown, with David Hasselhoff being an obvious example — there’s going to be little interest from anyone, which will ultimately mean little social traction.
So for Social Networks propped up by a faddy desire to mock / idolize has-been actors have a (thankfully) very short shelf life — or so you’d think / hope!
As daft as it sounds, David Hasselhoff is, in effect, a brand. To some, this must have come as something of a surprise, but you only have to go back to earlier this year and if you’re British, you’d have see “The Hoff” in adverts for Pipex, an ISP over here.
Just like Jamaican steel band music and Nordic walking, David Hasselhoff is something of an acquired taste. There are those who continue to write him off, yet he’s always there, on the periphery of popular culture, venturing into the limelight every so often, as was the case with the Pipex adverts.
Over here in Britain, there’s a chain of pubs called Reflex, which is pretty much a nostalgic dedication to all things 80s, with an indecently heavy emphasis on the music of said era. Go into any one of these pubs and if you can strain your eyes to avoid the glare of the lights and the glittery wall furniture, you’re sure to see an obscene portrait photo of The Hoff in short leather jacket and posing pouch — the man is a walking fucking brand!
Success on the web is more than just business models
Not every micro-niche is going to survive, in much the same way that not every business survives. What defines success is a many-faceted thing, not least a solid business model. In fact, a solid business model is only the very beginning of what’s required.
Facebook might not have a business model, but it does have the advantage of being built atop an exceptionally strong cluster of ideas. Timing also played a crucial role, too.
Let’s say you come up with a Social Network built around the adoration and nostalgia for 50s TV adverts. So your Social Network manages to snag a couple thousand members, if you’re lucky!
From a market share point of view, you’re going to be at the very thinest end, with the merest fraction of percent. But that doesn’t matter when it’s a fraction of percent of hundreds of millions of people.
Those aren’t bad numbers and with some planning and deft design skills, you can intermix content with some exceptionally targeted advertising and affiliate marketing schemes.
I really don’t see a problem with a Social Network for every taste. Unless you go looking for them, you’re hardly going to be troubled by them, or have them stealing audience eye balls and advertising revenue from your own niche Social Network.
In fact, finding a micro-niche could probably be a very lucrative pursuit — just ask David Hasselhoff…
- Tiscali drops the Hoff from Pipex ads
- Manage personal brand like a porn star
- The Bell Now Tolls for Social Networks