MySpace, Friendster, Facebook, Xanga, TagWorld, and other social networking sites will soon face off against another competitor – AIMspace.
"It won’t be a site per se. Rather, the online giant is building a platform off its massively popular AOL Instant Messenger service to better enable its users to share and create content. That the internal shorthand for the project is "AIMspace" — don’t count on that being its real name — testifies to how tightly the company plans to tie it to AIM, which the company says has 43 million users."
There are several interesting elements with this move. The first is that AOL is building the service around its AIM platform. It is a smart place to start. After all, the majority of these users fit the MySpace type demographics and are some of the most social users of AOL.
Secondly, AOL is a media giant. Whereas these other social networking sites have had to make a concerted effort to bring in music and other content to make their service more valuable, AOL has oodles of media at their fingertips.
And lastly, AOL has the ability to make their networking service much more integrated. I’ve written about the potential for MySpace to add a way for those outside the community to contact its users – AOL can simply give its AIMSpace users an AOL e-mail address.
Providing some sort of means for exchange within the walled garden helps solidify existing the user base (i.e., there is no reason to go somewhere else to check e-mail), as well as encourages growth (i.e., those without accounts are willing to browse through the community because they can still contact members).
According to the article, AIMSpace features will begin rolling out in March.