It is projected that internet usage baby-boomers and those over 60 will continue to rise. Just in the US alone, baby-boomers who use the internet will increase from 58.2 million in 2006 to 63.7 million in 2011. Over-60’s will grow from 17.7 million internet users in 2006 to 25.3 million by 2011. [Source: emarketer]

Here is a look at some social-networking sites dedicated to this growing segment:

eons.pngEons – “Lovin’ life on the flip side of 50”
Founder: Jeff Taylor, founder and former chairman of Monster.com
Founding Date: August 2006
Target: users 50 and older
Investors: Sequoia and General Catalyst – $32 million over two rounds of funding
Website features:

  • Typical Social-networking features: groups, blogging, adding friends, personalization of profile with widgets
  • Brain Games
  • Obituary
  • Eon’s Entertainment: members rate movies, books, music etc
  • Articles on Travel, Fun & Entertainment

Notes: Eons have also launched a search engine which they termed “the age-relevant search engine for 50+.” The engine’s name is “cRanky.” It uses Ask.com for its indexing and allows members to rate the sites.

Comments: The “obituary” option is a good idea with a bad name. This segment should use a more positive nomenclature like “passing on” or “a life remembered”.

egenerations.pngeGenerations
Founder: Nathaniel Adam Briggs, CEO/Founder BSCS
Founding Date: 2006
Target:
users 50+
Investors: Self-funded
Website Features:

  • Love Seeker Ads
  • Forums
  • Online Pharmacy (check notes section)
  • Rating area on travel

Notes: Vator.tv pitch here. eGenerations was formerly called SeniorsGrandCentral.

Comments: eGeneration does not allow new users to browse what it has to offer without registering. This will turn a lot of potential users away. Why buy wine if you’re not allowed a “taste-test” first? The site is also somewhat laggy.

The “Love Seekers Ad” is a good idea. This generation often suffer from loneliness after a loss of a spouse. I predict that there will be a huge boom in the over 50 dating segment in the near future.

SGC Pharmacy: Lack of NABP VIPPs, a seal that is an assurance that an online pharmacy is meeting all applicable state and federal requirements to dispense prescription medication. This seal lets consumers know that the online pharmacy is in good standing in a state and that it is licensed. This is provided by the FDA and the National Boards of Pharmacy to ensure that consumers are not being given fake or non-FDA approved medications from non-legit online pharmacies.

teebeedee.pngTeeBeeDee – “Sharing experiences to thrive”
Founder: Robin Wolaner, founder of Parenting Magazine, former executive CNET Networks
Founding Date: Launched September 2007
Target: users age 40 and over
Investors: Shasta Ventures – $4.8 million Series A Funding
Website features:

  • Social-networking features: friends, groups,
  • Q&A area
  • Discussion area

Notes: “TeeDeeBee” is a derivative acronym for “to be determined” suggesting that the next phase of life is filled with opportunities.

boomj.pngBoomJ – “Social & Lifestyle Network for Baby Boomers”
Founder: N/A
Founding Date
: N/A
Target:
Baby Boomers
Investors:
N/A
Website Features:

  • Sweepstakes
  • Articles
  • Social-networking features: Add buddy, send message, profile
  • Video Channels
  • Blogs

boomertowne.pngBoomerTowne – “A Destination for a Generation”
Founder/Team: Erin Madson, Lori Sansourcie
Founding Date:
N/A
Target:
Baby Boomers
Investors:
N/A
Website Features:

  • Rotation videos of “Towne Council Members” consisting of celebrities
  • Online dating
  • Monthly polls
  • Contests – earn points for rewards
  • Discussion Boards
  • Chat rooms
  • Social-networking

boomernetwork.pngBoomersnetwork
Founder: N/A
Founding Date:
N/A
Target: Baby Boomers
Investors:
N/A
Website Features:

  • Forum
  • Social Networking
  • Dating
  • Saving money opportunities
  • Q & A

Notes: new paid member site with no ads

General Comments
There’s a whole bunch of social-networking sites for older adults to choose from. How might a site distinguish itself from the others? Simple, any social-networking site for older adults should be empowering. These sites need to redefine the meaning of aging: beauty, wisdom, excitement and not adhere to what media has painted aging as – illness, death, fragility.

On another note, to develop a site for this target population would require having the actual users on the team or advisory board. Otherwise, it’ll be like creating a network for physicians without physician input. I think that a lot of these products need to revamp their marketing strategy and take a good look at some of the terms that they are using to describe this target population.

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