If you ever thought about creating your own mini YouTube, MySpace or any community site in which members can upload media, write and contribute directly, the time of your dream has finally come…Ιt is now possible to create your very own special interest social network in a matter of minutes, bringing together like-minded people from across the web.
Spruz seems to be the network of choice for many. Spruz allows you to create your own website with full member and social features. With Spruz you can create your own social network, blog, business website, or a site about almost anything.Several features are built into their website platform that makes it easy for you to create a website that is very robust. Add blogging, forums, discussions, galleries, calendars, and much more! I’ve read several reports of great up time and quality service. Spruz seems to have everything a social community site needs and a few extras that make it somewhat unique. I’ve seen users specifically boast about its file sharing capabilities. And the best part you can create, check it and use it completely free!
Webs is initially aiming at providing you with all the tools you need to create a professional-looking website in just minutes, with blog, forum, calendar, photo gallery, video gallery and much more. Still you also have the ability to add members and create personal profiles so you can turn your site into a community where friends, colleagues and family can connect and collaborate. Webs gets 30 times the traffic of any other network on this list. Webs promises to always be free and shares several of the features required by a social networking community.
Wackwall was in beta for a while and it wouldn’t be fair to compare their traffic to some of the other sites on the list. However, WackWall looked very promising and now coming out of beta as Wall.fm promises to be an always free tool for creating custom social networks with easy setup and complete feature set. Wall.fm is based on open source community software and is backed by a software company and doesn’t rely on investments which is why, they say, they will always remain free.
Grou.ps is another great choice based on open source software. Positioned as an online community site creator, it offers several features as installable modules including chat, file sharing, groups, etc. The free plan of 100MB is great for public groups of small sizes that don’t mind ads and then reasonably priced plans help scale your network. It generally looks very powerful.
Grouply looks very professional and in fact several professional communities use it. Grouply aims in pioneering the “social group” — a new type of online community that combines the best features of social networks and online groups. Specifically combine the social interactivity, media sharing, and modern design of social networking sites with the rich discussions, popular email interface, and people-discovery opportunities found in traditional online group systems. With Grouply, you can create a new social group about anything you like or join a social group and connect with others who share your interests and passions.
BigTent may be one of the babies of the bunch but it provides all of the same services in an “integrated” approach. Users claim the support is tremendous making it worth their switch. BigTent looks like a very simple solution, maybe a little too simple for some, but definitely promises getting everything done easily, centrally, in less time, getting your community members involved and ensure your group thrives.
This in fact looks VERY cool. Zerista makes the world’s best events thriving, interactive social experiences. With Web and mobile tools for attendees, event organizers and exhibitors, everyone is enabled before, during and after events with the industry’s leading platform. With tons of cool features to integrate the social experience, maybe its about time you take your network to the next level and go mobile?
Groupsite offers users the option to create discussion forums, calendars, and have many different users on a single social network. Groupsite’s basic service remains free. The “Basic” platform is ad-supported and includes 250 MB of storage. Groupsite (formerly known as CollectiveX) looks like an awesome network solution with some excellent features. It does seem like they find ways to lure you into buying their premium services, like limiting subgroups to 5 but overall another good solution on the free side.
SocialGO is another site for building online communities and social networks. It’s free plan offers up to 1 GB of storage and allows users to create custom profiles, sub-groups, forums, blogs, and post media such as text, photos and video. SocialGo, like the rest has a very impressive feature list and is just as popular as Spruz traffic-wise. The site seems to have a pretty satisfied user-base as I’ve seen several people recommend the site across different blogs and networks. Definitely worth putting on the list.
Open Source Solutions
Alternatively if you don’t want to be relying on others and you’ve decided to take full ownership of your community you might consider moving to a self hosted solution. The following are all free and trusted solutions in the industry.
Both from parent company Automattic, these popular, open-source platforms are known for being powerful, flexible, simple and having a sizable group of plugins and customization options. If you want a test drive, check out the demo site. This is a DIY solution; you’ll have to take care of your own download, installation and hosting. ie get your hands dirty with a little code.
Pligg is an open source CMS (Content Management System) that you can download and use for free. Pligg CMS provides social publishing software that encourages visitors to register on your website so that they can submit content and connect with other users. Pligg software creates websites where stories are created and voted on by members, not website editors. Pligg content management system can be ideal to start your own social publishing community in minutes.
Dolphin is built on modern technologies and can be used with other content management systems. If you already have a web site going this can me a great expansion to your existing web presence. Social Networking, Community Software… You Name It!
Dolphin makes it easy to deploy and manage dating sites, social networks, online clubs, or web- communities. Complete Control, Freedom And Flexibility with a mission to Unite People, through Video, Audio, Photos, Chat, Messenger, Groups, Blogs and More.