The Strangest Social Networks On The Web [Big Picture]

NEW YORK | Sunday, November 14th, 2010 10:25am EDT

If you no longer get your kicks from Facebook, the world’s largest social network, and are looking for something more personal or unique, alternatives abound.

  • Got a hankering for public karaoke without the bar scene? RedKaraoke.com invites you to rock out in the comfort of your living room. You may view and rate performances by other users or post your own videos. Photo: Siarhei Karotki/TheBlogIsMine.comGot a hankering for public karaoke without the bar scene? RedKaraoke.com invites you to rock out in the comfort of your living room. You may view and rate performances by other users or post your own videos. Photo: Siarhei Karotki/TheBlogIsMine.com
  • Line for Heaven is a for-fun community that purportedly welcomes anyone who wants to get into heaven. Photo: Siarhei Karotki/TheBlogIsMine.comLine for Heaven is a for-fun community that purportedly welcomes anyone who wants to get into heaven. Photo: Siarhei Karotki/TheBlogIsMine.com
  • Ravelry is a place for knitters, crocheters, designers, spinners, and dyers to keep track of their yarn, tools and pattern information, and look to others for ideas and inspiration. Photo: Siarhei Karotki/TheBlogIsMine.comRavelry is a place for knitters, crocheters, designers, spinners, and dyers to keep track of their yarn, tools and pattern information, and look to others for ideas and inspiration. Photo: Siarhei Karotki/TheBlogIsMine.com
  • Fubar styles itself as an 'online pub' for users aged 18 and older. Members can send virtual drinks to other members and earn "fuBucks," the site's virtual currency, based on their interactions. Photo: Siarhei Karotki/TheBlogIsMine.comFubar styles itself as an 'online pub' for users aged 18 and older. Members can send virtual drinks to other members and earn "fuBucks," the site's virtual currency, based on their interactions. Photo: Siarhei Karotki/TheBlogIsMine.com
  • Unlike Catster (for cat lovers) and Dogster (for dog lovers), HAMSTERster is just for people who love hamsters. Photo: Siarhei Karotki/TheBlogIsMine.comUnlike Catster (for cat lovers) and Dogster (for dog lovers), HAMSTERster is just for people who love hamsters. Photo: Siarhei Karotki/TheBlogIsMine.com
  • CafeMom is a site where mothers can post photos, play games, blog, discuss different topics, create support groups and forge friendships. Photo: Siarhei Karotki/TheBlogIsMine.comCafeMom is a site where mothers can post photos, play games, blog, discuss different topics, create support groups and forge friendships. Photo: Siarhei Karotki/TheBlogIsMine.com
  • VampireFreaks.com. Photo: Siarhei Karotki/TheBlogIsMine.comVampireFreaks.com. Photo: Siarhei Karotki/TheBlogIsMine.com
  • MyFreeImplants allegedly brings together women who want plastic surgery and men who can pay for it. In 2007, the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons criticized the site for failing to provide or encourage "proper medical assessment of candidates," the BBC reports. Photo: Siarhei Karotki/TheBlogIsMine.comMyFreeImplants allegedly brings together women who want plastic surgery and men who can pay for it. In 2007, the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons criticized the site for failing to provide or encourage "proper medical assessment of candidates," the BBC reports. Photo: Siarhei Karotki/TheBlogIsMine.com

#1. MyFreeImplants.com is the first website of its kind to harness the global power of the Internet to service the unique needs and desires of its members.

MyFreeImplants is a website based on the social networking model. The service purports to be an alternative to traditional cosmetic surgery financing methods. Models participate on the website with the main goal of raising money to fund a breast augmentation procedure through online donations.

The site has been criticised by professional organizations including the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) for tasteless marketing and trivializing a significant surgical procedure. Defenders of the company maintain the service is no different than other financing methods.

On 11 January 2009 a program was broadcast on the UK channel Virgin 1 called 100 Men own my breasts which predominantly featured the website. [via Wiki]

#2. VampireFreaks.com is an online community for the Gothic–industrial subcultures. It was created by site owner Jethro Berelson (Jet) in 1999. It began with a small number of forums dedicated to Gothic–industrial music but has gained high popularity in recent years in the alternative community circle as a whole and the site eventually grew.

VampireFreaks hosts a wide number of events and Gothic parties. Information of these events can be found on its website. It also has a clothing store, named after the site, located in New York City. It helps uphold and connect people of Gothic–industrial subcultures.

Its main topic of focus aside from socializing is its music, and it hosts its very own digital music store. Jet regularly updates the site with information concerning not only bands, but various Gothic events. Many people have found love on the site, and this has been focused on during Valentine’s Day. Couples that met through the site submitted stories of how they met their matches.

However in recent years, Vampirefreaks began promoting outside of the Gothic rock genre to fund not only the website but their own events. Such promoted non goth bands include Mudvayne, Lamb of God, Evanescence, Marilyn Manson, Slipknot, Cradle of Filth, Phil Anselmo, and more recently, Ozzy Osbourne. [via Wiki]

#3. CafeMom.com is an ad-supported social networking website specifically targeted at mothers, offering member-generated content such as profiles, journals, groups, photos, and polls.

The site launched in December 2006 and within one year became the most trafficked website for women (by page views) on the Internet, according to comScore. CafeMom gets more than 3.1 million unique visitors a month, accounting for over 140 million page views.

On March 30, 2010, CafeMom announced the launch of The Stir, a new blog for moms featuring original content covering topics such as celebrity gossip, parenting dilemmas (and solutions), current events, and home decorating.

Based in New York City, the company has about 65 employees. CafeMom is owned by privately held CMI Marketing, founded by Andrew Shue and Michael Sanchez. [via Wiki]

#4. “Okay, c’mon… HAMSTERster?! Is this a joke?” – It is intended to be amusing but is not a complete joke. After Dogster became a hit, HAMSTERster was a natural addition to the list of community sites modeled after the O.G., Friendster. The addition of “ster” to a word which already ends with those four letters only accentuates how silly the names of these sites are in the first place.

However, the internet is a place for everyone, and thus the hamsters and hamster lovers (get your mind out of the gutter) should have their place, too. This site has not been created to make money (seriously) but simply for fun.

“So, why not just use hamster.com?”I believe that would be put to better use as the community site for pigs. Besides, some stupid search engine place already owns it.

“If this site is for hamsters, why are gerbils on here, too?”Well, I’d be surprised if anyone would ever take the time to make Gerbilster, so I decided to be nice and let them be a part of the fun as well. I thought that they were similar enough animals to share a (cyber)space together. Besides, I once had both hamsters and gerbils as pets (though not at the same time) and loved them all, except when they bit me.

I was considering making the site strictly hamsters — not that I have anything against gerbils or any other animal. In fact, I love all animals (which is one of the reasons why I am vegetarian). Unfortunately, this site was not intended to be a community for every rodent or small mammal. The problem is simply where to draw the line. Gerbil owners have not been very receptive to this site so far, but they are still welcome to add their pets.

#5. Fubar.com is a social network launched in Summer-Early Fall 2005 as the first “online bar”. In October 2007, they teamed up with Jangl to provide their members with the ability to call other members anonymously.

The site is for users 18 and older, and is free to use. Registered members initiate conversations through buying each other virtual drinks with “fubucks” earned through using the site.

Other features include the ability to buy a “Happy Hour” for the whole site (reducing drink costs for all members), file sharing, and the ability to ask the community as a whole for their opinions.

#6. Ravelry.com is a free social networking website, beta-launched in May 2007. It functions as an organizational tool for a variety of fiber arts including knitting, crocheting, spinning, and weaving.

Members share projects, ideas, and their collection of yarn, fiber, and tools via various components. As of September 2010, Ravelry had over 850,000 members worldwide.

Husband and wife Casey and Jessica Forbes founded Ravelry in May 2007. Their idea was to create a web presence for all fiber artists.

Ravelry is a place for knitters, crocheters, designers, spinners, and dyers to keep track of their yarn, tools and pattern information, and look to others for ideas and inspiration.

In addition to serving as a social network site for users to discuss their crafts, Ravelry facilitates micro-business, allowing crafters to sell their patterns or yarns. Both large- and small-scale businesses are able to advertise their wares on the site. The site has been also used by some for market research.

Ravelry has been mentioned by Tim Bray as one “of the world’s more successful deployments of Ruby and Rails technologies.” [via Wiki]

#7. LineForHeaven.com helps answer the fundamental question, “Am I going to Heaven?” and proves its slogan “Religion can be fun!” The first religion-based Web 2.0 site in history, LineForHeaven is open to all religious views and feels anyone should be able to get into Heaven, i.e. nobody will be denied entry on basis of religion. The only requirement is to do good deeds.

Unlike any other website, LineForHeaven.com gives you the ability to save your “Soul” and reserve a place in “Heaven” by earning Karma Points. Those with the most Karma Points are deemed most worthy and may earn a chance to become closer to “God”.

Why waste your time on other sites, meeting creepy strangers, when you could get closer to “God” on our site? Join the new Earth-shattering social gathering that promotes religious tolerance through fun and games. All religious views are welcome, your privacy is guaranteed, and it takes only a minute to sign-up for FREE… and for a good cause!

#8. RedKaraoke.com is the leading social network for song lovers, both for the number of members and followers, and for the number of karaoke songs available.

Red Karaoke’s objective is to provide users with the necessary tools and contents to develop their hobby and have fun with it, as well as open a new possibility for promotion for professional singers. It is also the place for any music lover to enjoy the great voices that can be heard through the page and share contents with other users.

The web was released on 3rd April 2007 after two years of research and development by its founders, Miguel Ángel and Richard Díez Ferreira.

To learn more about the history and development of the project, read this entry of the Red Karaoke blog. Since January 2008, the risk capital fund RONDA TIC, FCR, which is managed by Clave Mayor, plays a minority role in the company thanks to a capital contribution, whose objective is to internationalise the project.

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