New Social Networking Website – Kent.co.uk Pioneers Geo-Social Networking

. June 5, 2009 . 0 Comments

www.kent.co.uk is a new social networking website aimed at business and consumer audiences in the county of Kent in south east UK.

It’s the latest in a line of new niche social networking sites to have emerged over the last 12 months.

Kent.co.uk has been created using the free Google Maps API to integrate users’ personal data about their friends and favourite places with on screen mapping, creating a custom visual social networking map for each user.

The resulting social networking map is interactive – data such as friends, places and events can be toggled on or off the map, and clickable icons can be used to access more information about each element or initiate actions like joining groups or becoming a fan.

Due to the geographic focus of Kent.co.uk, the categories of data have been intentionally broadened to include physical Places, which can range from a popular bar to a favourite beach or scenic spot.

The social networking map also features suggested places, groups and events, which are intelligently matched to the users own interests based on a range of different criteria, from content keyword matching to postcode proximity and linked user behaviour.

User privacy and security have also been carefully considered. The social networking maps only display personal user icons to accepted friends, and there is an auto cut out of icons at closer zoom levels, so specific address locations can never be identified. Furthermore users of kent.co.uk can choose not to be displayed on the map at all.

The unique structure of Kent.co.uk presents a range of interesting commercial and marketing opportunities. Discussions are underway with a major chain of pubs to show their sites on social networking maps with specially branded icons, and link their sites with other nearby data and events. Local business organisations are investigating using Kent.co.uk to operate private business to business networking groups linked to specific venues and events.

Kent.co.uk is currently undergoing a soft launch phase with new users being gained through targeted viral marketing to key user groups. A wider regional press launch will take place in the summer.

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