Cram Tokyo, Seoul, New York City, Mexico City, and Mumbai together into a single megalopolis, and its population would still be smaller than that of MySpace, the online social-networking juggernaut. And for a newbie, joining MySpace can feel much like being lost in a city with 120 million inhabitants. There are thousands of people around you who share your interests and could become your friends–but how to connect with them?
For Internet users who want to network with like-minded people without being subsumed into the madding crowd, there is now an alternative. Last week Ning, a Palo Alto, CA, startup cofounded in 2004 by online marketing executive Gina Bianchini and Netscape founder Marc Andreesen, launched a free Web application for creating and customizing boutique social networks–in effect, mini-MySpaces, or „social niche-works,“ as some are calling this new genre.
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