Right before we closed the nominations for last year's Webware 100 awards, I wrote a post about there being too many social networks in the running. Apparently, all you genius Web 2.0 entrepreneurs skipped school that day, because for the 2008 Webware 100, we have, again, way too many social networks competing.
Of the nearly 5,000 distinct Webware 100 nominations we have, more than 1,000 are in the social network category. A few are social network subapplications that run on the Facebook platform, but really, too many are just little teeny social networks.
Now, It's cool if you want to run a network for cartoon watchers (Nicktropolis) or for collectors (iTaggit), or sports clubs (SportaVista). But I question the need for clubs such as these to set up their own network when there's a good general-purpose social network platform like Ning around to do the heavy lifting.
Social network sites, as a group, may also be in business trouble. While users turn a lot of pages on social sites, general advertising programs are apparently not delivering the goods.
Not to say that there's no room for innovation and growth in this space. As I wrote from Demo 2008, while I think it's a bit daft to launch yet another new network now, there's room for a new kind of social network: The implicit network--one that connects you without requiring you to recruit your friends yet again.
Webware 100 voting starts on February 25.