Gibby Miller: Inventing the Social Network

Ten Years Later, MakeOutClub Is Still Going Strong
Gibby Miller is the founder of MakeOutClub.com an online social community for fans of indie and punk music that allows them to remain connected to this scene while also connected with like minded people. Miller overcame the difficulties of creating the first ever social networking site and has remained true to his ideals as an independent artist and punk rock musician, allowing the site to add 100-200 users every day. The site only runs ads that hold true to the average user's interests and lifestyles. It steers clear of adding any content that might dilute or corrupt the integrity of the site's message. Miller discusses how to keep a niche community, as well as the importance of grassroots advertising.

The Challenges of Being a Working Stiff Miller touches on an important modern day struggle of the guy living in his basement, who happens upon success due to a website he created more as a hobby than a career ambition. He started out of his bedroom, without capital, and without a desire to grow. Afraid to loose his true identity, Miller mentions that he grapples with MakeOutClub's growth and often takes a pause to retain his former artistic, musical self and not get completely swept away in his life as a full time corporate -every day man.

Who Uses Social Networking Sites?
• Social networks provide an opportunity to create more interactive experiences with customers and prospects. Social networks can help humanize a brand.
• Sites like MakeOutClub.com are built around the social activities of users, and so for brand advocates in particular, it is not only easy to embrace and promote a brand, but it's encouraged.
• Although users are concerned about online social networks becoming over-commercialized, according to Forrester, a significant percentage of users show interest in engaging with their FAVORITE brands. Again, this points to the importance of brand advocates within social networks.

Why Social Networking Sites Work? • Customers: There is a growing need, and the customer demographic is expanding. People are finding use in communicating and keeping up to date with friends and family through the tools that social networking sites provide

• Brands: Social Networks help humanize a brand, which consumer actively seek

• Industry: Companies are increasingly investing more of their marketing dollars into creating a presence on social networking sites.

• As companies recognize the value of social networks and advertising opportunities within them continue to grow, marketing spending in this channel increases significantly.

• In this Jupiter survey of companies with revenue of +$500 MM, more than half expect social marketing budgets to grow by greater than 10% next year.