During this meeting I had a chance to explore more about the service and ask questions raised n my previous blog post.
To start with the site is still in beta (the password to access the registration page is iyomubeta), but both David and Frances tell me the feedback has been very good so far.
The whole idea is to create an easy to use web site with social networking features accessible to "grown ups", who are in the 30 - 50 age segment. Frances, who is also responsible for the user experience and interface, tells me that most of the people in this age bracket are not interested in some of the "gimmicks" found in more teen-oriented sites such as myspace and bebo (this the largest social network in New Zealand).
I questioned the use of a Flash-based interface and France replied that it's a "standard" in most web browsers, and it could be used to make the whole experience easier for the people that want a piece of social networking action but are not worried about browser compatibility, AJAX support, and other things.
The site name iYomu stands for "I, you, me, us" and you say it as it's written ("I Yo mu").
David is the founder and doesn't have a technology background - hence the idea of creating something easy for people like himself to use. The service is fully backed by some investment rounds from local and international investors.
Their business model does not include advertising, rather relying on "upselling" features. For example people will be able to upload up to 1GB of files for secure storage and sharing with friends and family. If more than 1GB is needed then iYomu will be happy to sell you more space. They see this as an important feature for professional users who could have documents secured stored on iYomu, for later use during travel or meetings.
The "iDNA" allows users to create a profile based on answers to a questionaire covering different aspects of personality. This "iDNA" can later be used to find potentialy compatible friends in the network.
You can create and join groups, but those groups don't have discussion forums or postings. I asked about this and Frances reply was that "the feedback we received is that most people are interested in finding others in the same interest group, but not necessarily have a group-wise discussions, rather having one-on-one discussions".
I also asked if they have plans to make this an open platform, such as Facebook, which now allows third party developers to create plug-in applications. They think this is something that can happen, but not from the start.
iYomu will be launched in Auckland 13 August 2007 with a "large promotion" that Frances and David promise will draw a big deal of attention to the service. I wasn't told what is happening, but I will be in Auckland on the date (for the Microsoft Tech Ed), so I might find out more then.
It is indeed an interesting concept, although I am still not convince of the benefits of the Flash-based interface, but they certainly have invested a big deal of time in their research and development, so let's see how it goes after the official launch.
Other related posts:
Microsoft Ignite New Zealand, Microsoft Surface Studio
Geekzone data analytics with Power BI
Now with more fibre
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