June 15, 2009
Though Ning created the market for online social networking, competition did not take long to appear on the horizon. KickApps is an online social network service that also offers its users to create their very own social networks, and strickingly similar to Ning. Registration, however, takes a long time, depending on the internet connection you have.
Like Ning, KickApps also allows you to customize your social network, but Ning appears to work much more smoothly that KickApps. Ning is very user friendly, where as KickApps can have some glitches here and there when you are creating your social network on KickApps. Another drawback of KickApps is that the choices available to network creators are very limited. Yes, they have more appearances for websites than Ning has, but Ning also allows its network creators to mess around with htmls and to change the colors of the social network sites. Once you have created your network on KickApps, you have the option to either view your social network or to manage it. One of the problems with KickApps is that there is no link to return to the KickApps editorial page, where the tools needed are to manage your social network. With Ning’s service, you are able to manage your social network right in your own social networking site.
When you are managing your network with KickApps, you can do much of the same things that you can do with Ning. For example, you can add apps to your network simply by dragging and dropping them into a square on the middle of the page. The different apps are located on a bar at the top of the page. The problem is how to incorporate this into your network. Ning makes everything easy to understand. Dragging and Dropping is a method that was developed by Apple, when they designed their first personal computer and this method has been picked up by all kinds of other computer-based platforms because of its easy use. However, with KickApps, it can be difficult to tell where the activation button or link is. Ning makes it much easier with either a next or launch button clearly visible on each page. This may be fine with computer savvy people, who like challenges, but as for novices, this has the potential to turn them away and have them go to Ning, which has an interface that is much more easy to use. KickApps does, however, compensate somewhat for the above mentioned shortcomings by providing links to tutorial blogs written by network creators who are knowledgeable in html code and sometimes you can even find the html code in those tutorials clearly written out.
The founder of KickApps is Prof. Eric Alterman, who is a distinguished professor of English at Brooklyn College and he is also a professor of Journalism at the City University of New York Graduate School. Prof. Alternan also writes many articles for various major media groups, including “The Liberal Media,” as well as Media Matters, which was formerly part of MSNBC. Prof. Alterman is as well the editor of the “Think Again” column for the World Policy Institute, which is part of the New School in New York. Prof. Alterman has also written over six books about media and he is also KickApp’s chairman and sits on the company’s board of directors. Prof. Alterman also sits on the board of directors of FLORA.tv, and affiliate of KickApps.
KickApps is based in New York City and has 80 employees. The company was founded in 2004, has 12 people on its management team, and seven people on its board of directors. KickApps is a privately owned company.
Some of KickApps investors include SoftBank Capital, Spark Capital, and North Atlantic Capital.
SoftBank capital was founded to make solid investments in US based early stage companies in the tech industry. SoftBank mainly invests in three sectors of the tech industry: content, applications, and tech-based services. Other companies in SoftBank’s portfolio include DeskTone, Echo, LiteSpace, Pivot, and others.
Spark Capital is a vc firm that is dedicated to disrupting the markets and likes to invests in companies that have new and innovative technologies or intellectual property that have enormous market potential. Some other companies in Spark’s portfolio include Inform, InTune, Kapteeva, Omgpop, OneRiot, Send Me, and others.
North Atlantic Capital is a vc firm, who’s dedication is to companies with strong management teams and are poised for success in the marketplace. North Atlantic Capital was founded in 1986 and since then it has funded over 64 companies and has over $200 million in assets. Other companies included in North Atlantic’s portfolio include AeroStat, Astadia, CyberTrust, iContact, Synacor, Tangoe, and others.
For more information about KickApps, click here.