Next2Friends Puts You Next To Friends?

Social networking sites are nothing new, but they have certainly picked up in popularity these past few years. From Orkut to MySpace, Friendster to Facebook, new sites are going up all the time. And let’s not forget about the community created by sites like YouTube, where users can upload and share new content. On the surface, Next2Friends — the subject of this ReviewMe request — sounds like just another copycat, but they promise to be revolutionary in their approach. They also seem to have more of a mobile focus than other social networking sites. Does this make them better or unique?

No Social Networking Yet

Honestly, I have no idea whether the Next2Friends social networking site will be a hit or not, because it has yet to launch. It is not yet possible to peruse through the profiles of other users, not yet possible to join groups and share content. Heck, you can’t even register for your own (free) account yet. In this way, this isn’t really a ReviewMe review; it’s just another branch of their marketing machine.

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The live beta of Next2Friends is scheduled to launch on December 24, 2007. This is still almost two months away, but that doesn’t mean that you should just sit on your butt and twiddle your thumbs in the meantime. Instead, they highly suggest that you pre-register for the service and for good reason: they’ve got some rather hot prizes to give away.

Win an iPod Touch or Dell Inspiron Laptop

Every month leading up to the launch, Next2Friends “will give away a new Dell Laptop every quarter, and an iPod Touch each month.” In order to enter this give-away, you don’t need to blog about the site using a particular anchor text or fork over an undisclosed sum of money. All you have to do is pre-register with Next2Friends and this can be done quickly and easily through the main page. Once registered, you will be entered.

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The next drawing for the iPod Touch is scheduled for November 15th, whereas the next Dell Inspiron 1720 is being given away on December 15h. I’m not sure if these prizes will continue to be given away after the site launches, because there’s no mention of continuity nor is there mention that the contest will end.

To increase your chances of winning, refer more friends to Next2Friends. Underneath the main registration form is an area where you can enter the email addresses of up to five friends. They will receive an invitation to pre-register and should they follow through, you get an additional contest entry for every friend that signs up.

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Although it’s still not clear exactly how Next2Friends is going to work and what features are so “revolutionary”, the main page makes mention of “many other benefits in becoming a founding member.” You will be eligible to “receive substantially more cash and rewards”, in addition to having first dibs on account names.

Blogging About Community Development

If you want to keep up the latest on this new social networking site, head on over to next2friendsblog.com. It’s a rather plain-looking blog, using the same WordPress theme as the one currently implemented by Chris Bibey. Considering how great the Next2Friends promo page looks, it’s disappointing that they went with a generic free blog template. I also find the “Digg” widget to be kind of annoying, seeing how they dugg every post. Many entries show a Digg count of 3 or less.

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In terms of blog content, it’s not all directly related to Next2Friends. The blog talks about how to copyright your music, overcoming creative blocks, improving vocal technique.

Make Money Online with Next2Friends

Although it’s largely being marketed as a (mobile?) social networking site, Next2Friends could also prove to be a valuable money-making opportunity. In a recent blog post, they mention a chance for artists to promote themselves for free. Next2Friends won’t make any money right away, but when they do, they’ll “share advertising revenue with you, the content provider, in a paid-for-play type structure.”

Video- and revenue-sharing will represent “30% of the total package that Next2Friends will offer. Next2Friends will be much much more.” And we won’t know how much more until December 24th. Until then, pre-register and win an iPod Touch or Dell laptop.