One of the first things I ever did on-line was put up a friend's sonogram so that her brother, who was in the Army and stationed in Germany, could see it. Flash forward more almost fifteen years and oddly it seems there may still be a need for people to have help doing this still, but is there really? Is the market right, as some respondents to a tweet I made have said? Or are there just a bunch of young and extremely talented new parents (men) thinking that there is. Have the bigger sites like iVillage, BabyCenter, CafeMom and babble just missed it entirely? Are blogger, flickr, typepad,and others just too complicated and public? I'll admit that as a new parent I'm thinking of a product or something I can make. Who isn't? A friend started skiphop, another a kind of baby bunting. I wish I had come up with babylegs. but the thought of what I need on-line is elusive. We use flickr for photos of W which are private to friends and family, They can come in and comment, we can print books and cards. If we took video we could put it up there.I could easily set up a private blog or group as well. So I'm not sold. Plus in reality we don't have time. I certainly don't have time to blog, tweet, play wordscrapper, and grab a few minutes of extra downtime watching 30 Rock or The Daily show on HULU. (That is when I am employed :))
We did an interesting exercise in my last days at iVillage where we broke down the time a new mother actually had, in a long overdue who is our customer moment. A new parent is a tough customer - as they are about to become a parent they have time and are looking for advice, when the baby is born time disappears, and when the kid(s) are older it reappears.So if you are going after the early years you better provide value and fill a need. So all of these sites are competing for very little time. Do these sites help parents get the support they need? Do they really enhance the ability to share with relatives? Do they save time? Don't get me wrong these sites wee-web, baveo, and Lilgrams are all really good but they also feel almost like social media apps that were built on spec to be sold or partnered with the bigger players who get the audiences looking for advice.
I really like lilgrams, it has a beautiful UI. It builds a digital baby-book over time. I like that framework. It can be white-labeled and used for other things too. Wee-web is great in concept, so easy, and obvious. It offers a kind of closed facebook experience photos and updates that people can comment on (purposeful and controlled web social media apps are it and this is a great example). The fact that it uses api's to pull in info from other places I've put it makes it more likely that I would use it. Bit I was so impressed by it at the tech meetup that I told a friend with a newborn to try it. Baveo is more like a tumblr blog with links to registries.
For me they are nice but not must have's, nor are they for my wife so I don't actually think the launch of so many of these projects right now means that the "market is right, that there is a need". I think they may be the result of a bunch of new techy fathers trying to make a version of babylegs. It is going to come down to marketing and partnerships with the bigger players, smart recs from parenting communities, and real value for them to break out but I don't see them becoming huge standalones. I could easily be wrong but I see them all ultimately trying to exit to bigger sites. Perhaps I am already too entrenched with flickr and set in my ways. What I need is advice, recommendations, a friend with a kid W's age to go on a walk with, time, and people to contribute to W's Freshman fund account - now that is a service to love! I like savvyauntie a lot too as it addresses a need for people in a baby's life who is not a parent. Thoughts?