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Catch and Keep

Josh Kopelman has a good post today on Redeye VC on the interaction models of social networks.  Josh calls these business models, but this post isn't about monetization.  It's about how you interact with a site and how that predicts ultimate value.

The more valuable model is 'catch and keep' (vs. catch and release).  This means that once you start interacting with a site, you keep coming back and deepening your interaction.  Obviously, this is worth a lot more than a less regular access pattern.  When you become a significant part of a user's life, you have their attention on a regular basis.  This is worth money.

What attributes determine whether a site is 'catch and keep' vs. 'catch and release'?  Some thoughts I have:

  • The site needs to move an existing regular user action online.  You are much more likely to communicate with your current friends than your high-school classmates every day.
  • The site needs to provide you value on a stand-alone basis with information that is important to you.  You should have a reason to go there beyond just checking in with your friends.
  • The site should build value as the numbers of users grow, delivering leverage from the aggregate information.  The site should be able to allow the user to act on the aggregate information rather than just on their own information.
  • The site should provide easy links and access to other related sites, becoming a portal for a whole host of user conduct in this area.
  • The area of interaction needs to stand on its own rather than being a subset of something covered in an existing broad site.  For example, Geezeo will build a social network around personal finances.  This isn't something you are likely to put on your My Space page.

What other attributes do you think make a site 'catch and keep'?

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