Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Boomer "Social Networking" Web Sites

History may record 2007 as the year Boomer Web sites boomed. (We suspect 2008 will be known as the year many of them busted, but that remains to be seen.)

As a public service, herewith are sites we've found that are attempting to woo Boomers online. So as to not sway your opinion, we're only listing the site name and tagline -- no logos.

If you know or hear of one not yet on the list, please let us know. We'll update the list as needed.

First, the list. Then some comments. As of September 5, 2007:


Boomer Site & Tagline
eons -- Lovin' life the flip side of 50
BOOMj -- Boomer Nation Lifestyle Network
reZOOM.com -- Redefining life for an ageless generation
Boomer Towne -- no tagline
Boomer Girl -- Welcome to the Club
eldr -- Celebrating aging
Redwood Age -- Think. Share. Act. Live.
BoomSpeak! -- Your whole life's in front of you
eGenerations.com -- Connect. Learn. Explore.
Boomer Time -- Having fun...while changing the world
Growing Bolder -- no tagline
Boomer Living -- ...enhancing the lives of Active Baby Boomers
TeeBeeDee -- Sharing Experiences to Thrive
Life Two -- ...Midlife Improvement
My Boomer Place -- Like MySpace, but better...for young people over 40
My Primetime -- Personal Trainer for Life
Second Prime Time -- Where people 50+ connect, create and contribute
Maple and Leek (UK) -- Live it up at 50+. Adventures start here...
GrownUps (NZ) -- 50+ Community



Plenty for Boomer Consumers to chose from, which means that not all of them will find success in the marketplace.

Now for some color commentary:

  • The fundamental issue for all of these sites is relevance to Boomers or someone over 50. We don't think being a Boomer makes you a member of an affinity group -- it's just a demographic designation. Given that, why would "Boomers" flock to a web site to mingle with other "Boomers." There needs to be a stronger, more relevant connection -- like life stage, marital status, hobbies, etc.
  • A quick click-through to all the sites and you'll see some that obviously have been well-funded and designed, and others that are perhaps more home-made. The top three at first glance in our view: reZOOM, BOOMj and BoomerGirl. Clean layouts, yet visually interesting and inviting. You want to click somewhere.
  • reZOOM hasn't gotten much coverage that we've seen, but we really like what they are doing -- City Guides and their $100,000 prize. Eons.com has been getting the coverage, but reZOOM is the one doing some real good at there.
  • We're not fans of eons.com's Obits section. It's the only site among this bunch that features anything about death and dying, which could make the site interesting to some. But we think it's a turn-off at this stage of 50+ marketing.
  • We find most of the taglines amusing but not helpful or informative. Chuck Nyren has already taken many of them to task in this post from last year.
  • The best name is "Growing Bolder." Says it all and is about an attitude, not an age or even a lifestage. Done right (and it's being revamped as we type this), it could be a real winner.

We'll keep tracking these Boomer and 50+ Web sites and let you know what's happening with them.

9 comments:

Chuck Nyren said...

Astounding, isn't it!

Someone called me from "the big one" - a sales/marketing person. She wanted to chit-chat. I said that as a rule I think that general interest ("You're a Baby Boomer!") social networking sites will fail (certainly 95% will). She said something very revealing - both about the site she works for and the concept of social networking: "There are a lot of lonely people out there."

True. Millions. But my guess is that the vast majority of Boomers aren't lonely or confused or need motivation. And if I'm wrong, then all these sites will wear thin soon. If you're lonely, then there's just so much 'social networking' you can do before it begins to reinforce your sad state - and makes you feel worse.

But many of these aren't social networking sites - they call themselves so because it's one of the hot phrases to use. They're really ezines. People may go there - but to gather information and be entertained - not to 'make friends'.

Here's a new one for your list - from England:

Wanobe.com

Matt Law said...

You might want to add Grandparents.com to the list. We think you're dead on with this line: "There needs to be a stronger, more relevant connection -- like life stage, marital status, hobbies, etc."

Matt Thornhill & John Martin said...

You're right that grandparents.com is targeting a life stage -- and in fact, stays away from generational labels altogether.

We agree that is a smarter approach than these generic "Boomer" or "50+" sites.

Chuck Nyren said...

The point is NOT to add grandparents.com to the list. It's not a generic "Hello, I'm Joe Baby Boomer and I want to be your friend for no real reason whatsoever except that I'm lonely and a Baby Boomer!" site.

Matt Thornhill & John Martin said...

Chuckles makes an excellent point, as usual. And he'll notice we didn't say to put it on the list.

So while we like grandparents.com, it doesn't make the list of generic Boomer sites. Which is a good thing.

Matt Law said...

Ah, ok. I see the point being made. Makes sense. Carry on.

Dotsie Bregel said...

Great list of sites. However, I see www.boomerwomenspeak.com is missing from the list. Our forum community has been goign strong since 2002. We have over 60 topics in which boomer women post 24/7.

We also launched the National Association of Baby Boomer Women, www.nabbw.com in 2005.

I've been foloowing Matt and Chuck for years now. Wishing you all the very best. Thanks for all you do to keep us informed about this awsome generation!

Boomer Parties said...

A Boomer website you left off your list is BoomerParties.com, featuring fun social networking parties and events for Baby Boomer Singles in New York.

When marketers provide research on "Baby Boomers", they need to segment out this huge "singles" segment of the Boomer generation. Our generation is the first to have so many single people who will be facing retirement and the golden years alone. At least with social opportunities to be involved with other Boomers, an alternate support network can be built with others going through the same issues of being single and a Boomer!

tvnewsbadge said...

I just recently got into checking out boomer sites, and so far have been pretty with the so-called "social networking" sites. Mainly because of the fact that almost anyone from the past that I knew has no Internet foot print whatsoever.

Even the movers and shakers I knew in high school and college, the super kids, are strangely absent.

With that in mind, I think one heck of a great boomer site would be one where folks list everyone they knew from their generation with a one line description, such as:
"Linda Glidewell, 1965, cheerleader, George Wythe High School, Richmond Virginia. I was over her house one Christmas".

One line liek that would look pretty lame, but if it would come up in search engines, and otehr folks who knew her added to it, we'd end up with quite a profile.

Multiple that by thousands of boomers, and you'd have a heck of a profile of this generation.

TvNB

Valuable Insights into the Hearts, Minds and Wallets of Today's Baby Boomers

This blog is by the authors of Boomer Consumer: Ten New Rules for Marketing to America's Largest, Wealthiest and Most Influential Group, on sale now.

Here is where you'll find information referenced in the book, as well as updates, news and perspectives from Matt Thornhill and John Martin, founders of the Boomer Project.