Elance Blog

Charting the Way for Social Networking 3.0

42-year old Rohan Hall, an Elance buyer, is a seasoned tech executive with experience from PeopleSoft and Oracle, who has turned his experience into his new vocation of tech entrepreneur.



For his new venture, Rohan followed his hunch on the next wave of technology trends and is now charting the way for online social networking v3.0.

"I think the next trend in social networking is enabling people to create their own site, their own platform, and also enable them to make money from it," said Rohan.  This insight prompted Rohan and his wife, Sylvie, to start rSitez, Inc, a software company that allows people to design and launch their own social network platforms.
 
rSitez is different that MySpace, LinkedIn and Facebook.  Instead of hosting a social network, it enables folks to collect money with built-in Google Adsense.  rSitez also provides full hosting, upgrades and support. 
 
As you can imagine, building web software that powers social networks is a huge undertaking.  That's why Rohan turned to Elance, to find developers who could help him build the software to launch his business.

But the first step was to write the project description and post it on Elance.  Rohan provided the overall product design, and awarded the project to an Elance provider to do the detailed specifications, design, and development.

With the help of the provider, Rohan decided the direction the software would take.  "We decided to use a LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) platform because of its flexibility and low cost of maintenance," said Rohan.  "We designed the application with a scalable architecture so that sites can be scaled from 20 users to millions of users with no effort."

"The team of Elance providers we worked with was top-notch, and I would compare them with Accenture, Deloitte or any other top consulting firm, many of which I have worked with in the past," said Rohan.

With the initial application built and ready for market, the development work has been transitioned to internal rSitez developers who do the ongoing support of the application.  Rohan notes that he does plan to use Elance providers for larger development projects in the future.

"Elance is a really cool service.  We were able to get qualified resources for projects ranging from software development to graphic design to copywriting.  I have not found anything better than Elance when it comes to outsourcing," said Rohan.

Market demand for rSitez has been amazingly receptive.  "We've seen demand for rSitez grow significantly from September to December of last year.  In fact, our revenue has more than doubled each month since our launch and we are on target for the same to happen this month," says Rohan.

Comments

Lorenzo,
Very interesting concept by Rohan and Sylvie. With the popularity of the Facebook platform in creating your own networks, both social and business, it is a very cool idea to allow people to create their own entire networking platforms. The business and other organizational implications are fascinating.

This is the first online suite that I have seen that allows you to own, operate, customize, and earn revenue from social positngs. Our site has profiled it as our premier social site for generating income since it's launch.
A lot of other sites are cool for showing off the kids soccer photos or grammy’s "congrats on the new job" letter, but this one is truly unique. Our reviews focus on all of the different ways that people can create their own online environments and generate income and as we said - this is the only application that we would recommend for creating a social environment. – Great Site.

Great idea. Where can I see an example of a site using rSitez?

This social networking site looks great and it appears to have alot of features. I just signed up for one of the networking sites on it to check it out. However, if you are interested in creating a social networking site for absolutely free, check out ning.com. I am a novice at all this and I joined one ning network and started two others in the last week. Ning doesn't focus on making money on their sites but it is also possible. It's definitely worth a look before you commit to the price of this one.

Good direction, but Ning (http://www.ning.com) already does a great job with this concept. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Rohan,
Wow, you sure caught my attention. I read your blog, and then didn't walk, but "ran" to check your site... as fast as my little fingers could type.
I am intrigued, to say the least. My current hosting company is up for renewal soon, and it seems that you may have soloutions to some of the challenges I've encountered...http://www.imssalesandmarketing.com/.
Since you mentioned Web 3.0, will you be including a virtual world feel (ie Second Life-like)?
Thanks, and impressive work!!
Johnnie Mesaros

There are a few companies that do this. What I don't like about Ning is in order for someone to join the community I make, they first need to join Ning. By joining Ning they are able to see my competitors' social networks.

Ning vs rSitez

I appreciate all the feedback. And I think it’s interesting to be compared to Ning with over $40 million in funding. It says a lot about the value of Elance that we are able to compete with such a well funded organization with technology created via Elance developers. For the record, however, we’ve created technologies for Honda, PeopleSoft, Corning, HP and many other Fortune 500 companies over the past 12 years so we do know how to build scalable enterprise class software.

I do agree with someone that wrote that Ning does a good job with this idea. But Dude, isn’t it good to have a choice? We believe that we are the best alternative to Ning online today. That said, let’s have a closer look at Ning vs rSitez!!!

Pricing - rSitez gold package starts at $27.95 per month which includes lots of features, your own domain name, 50GB of disk space, the ability to run ads on your site. To have a similar package with Ning will cost you $64.90 per month. You can check the pricing for Ning Premium features to see the hidden numbers. Our next package at $55 gives you 120GB of disk space. Do the numbers and you will see that the value we offer is significantly better than Ning.

Revenue – I believe this is one of our major strengths. If you want to make money with a social network site, rSitez offers more possibilities than Ning. Ning allows only advertising revenue (and remember not in their ‘free’ version). rSitez allow you to make money with Google ads (similar to Ning). In addition to this however you can post banner or text ads on every page on the site. The ads can be targeted to specific pages or based on user profile information. Your site members also have the ability to buy and post ads on the site with our self service advertising module. You can use any or all of these options without paying extra for these features. Additionally, you can collect membership fees, donations, and event fees. These are built in features that require no technical knowledge. You simply turn these features on or off if you like. We are also integrated with Paypal so you can collect funds via debit cards, credit cards, or Paypal. Funds processing is safe and secure, and only require a free Paypal account. And finally, our open architecture allows you to use widgets for revenue generation. For example rSitez allow you to integrate an Amazon, Ebay, or other widgets to get referrals fees when your members use these widgets. We are also building closer integration to these and many other sites.

100% White Label – Ning is not white label. With Ning, you and your members will always have to deal with the shared Ning Id, Ning links, and Ning brand. When we say 100% white label we mean that you see no links, no shared Ids with competing sites, and no branding from rSitez. With rSitez your members will see only your brand, not ours.

Features – I do like Ning and think they have cool tech. However, on a feature by feature comparison we have significantly more features than Ning does. This includes the 14 core modules seen on our main menu bar and many others. You can check features out on our Features page. Plus we continue to roll out more new features on a weekly basis.

So these are the facts in comparing Ning vs rSitez. We believe that we have a greater value proposition than Ning. We are confident that once you give us a try you will feel the same as well!