The collective productivity of German founders once they have adopted an idea is quite uncanny. It might take a while – usually 9 to 18 months, but then the output often is quite excessive. Twitter has been around for 9 months without too much mind share, then within 2 weeks 10 Twitter clones have been launched; we didn’t see any social networking sites focused on sports until a few weeks ago, now there are literally dozens of them. The latest good idea is social networks for cats, dogs or guinnea pigs, again there have been at least a dozen new launches within a month or so.
This is fair game and localisations do make perfect sense, but more often than not they merely seem to be based on concept extrapolation – ‘if [a social network] works for x then it will work for y’ – without adding anything beyond the usually suspected features.
TierFC (which roughly translates to ‘animal family club’) is a new social network for animals and or their owners. What’s surprisingly refreshing is the fact that they have been rethinking the standard social networking features in a way which should benefit their users and their animals.
Users can create a profile page, upload photos, hook up with fellow pet owners, create groups, discuss and help each other out. Topical discussions are structured in a ‘knowledge’ section, so over time a body of knowledge on each species should develop.
There are six animal categories – dogs, cats, rodents, birds, horses and terra aqua – and if a category is selected the rest of the content is filtered by this topic.
Veterinarians, people working at animal shelters and other related professionals have their own section. It is nice that they don’t inherit a priviliged position within the community and have to set up a profile like every other user, the only difference seems to be that they get a tab in their profile so they can describe the service they are offering and that they can be located in this section.
Overall I think they did a great job in combining personal with professional activities without ever breaking the flow of the site, e.g. in the photo section you also can browse animals looking for a new home.
(This article originally was written for blognation Germany. Since blognation is gone I have reposted it here)