I received the following email from a buddy of mine this week:
“I have a project underway that requires implementing “social networking” software similar to that implemented in LinkedIn or Facebook. I have Googled “social networking software” but after separating the custom designs from the hosted to the installed packages, I am not much further ahead, do you have any pointers or know of a good package I could host?”
Here’s my response…
You can host it yourself:
- CommunityServer.org – great product. We use it to power our canada.com communities. Great for community building. Plenty of horsepower and all of the basics for community stuff. Cons: need windows hosting with big SQL DB (not your typical godaddy.com hosting), groups-type functionality not ready yet (but this functionality is on its way soon!)
- Drupal – Good open source system. If you have a good creative person, this is probably your best bet. I’ve played around with it and I like it. It’s got all the bells and whistles, plus a great community of developers that build plug-ins for it.
- Pligg – Up and coming CMS (Content Management System). I really like the digg-it style ratings system that it employs. This one’s also at the top of my list should I decide to build my own community.
Or you can have it hosted for you:
- Kickapps – quite an interesting concept. They host the community (including video sharing!) and they provide the ads (which is how they make their money). Good idea with minimal system management. My worry is that they could go belly up and your site is gone.
There are plenty of other white label options available, none of which seem to be “ideal” yet. But, they’re making some headway. For some of the white label options, check out this series by TechCrunch:
- 9 Ways to Build Your Own Social Network
- White Label Social Network Comparision Chart part 1
- White Label Social Network Comparision Chart part 2
And, some other products worth looking at:
And, to get a feel for the top apps in the web2.0 world, check these links:
I’m sure I’ve overlooked some things here in my haste to get a list back to my friend as quickly as I could. Feel free to offer your suggestions, comments, questions, etc. to this post and we can discuss this in more depth in some future posts.