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November 15, 2003

Social software scene heats up


Silicon Valley-based "social software" services like dating service Friendster, Tribe.net and LinkedIn have raised several million dollars in venture capital from top-drawer VCs like Kleiner Perkins and Benchmark Capital (Friendster), Mayfield (Tribe.net), and Sequoia Capital (LinkedIn).

Click Here to read Fortune columnist David Kirkpatrick's article that provides a backgrounder on such services.

Now that dollops of VC money is involved, these "networking" companies seem to becoming less fond of each other and are feuding over business models and even patents on such software.

Click Here to read LinkedIn's press release (on its $4.7 million funding) in which it takes liberal digs at its rivals. "Unlike networking services geared to singles and salespeople, LinkedIn has been able to attract a user base of successful professionals and executives by providing the most powerful and effective set of privacy and email inbox protections."

Click Here to read a News.com article on the patents dispute.

Fierce debates rages on online forums over whether these VCs are creating yet another financial bubble with their investments in such companies, which have not yet firmed up their revenue models, let alone profitability. Says Michael Perkins, co-author of the book "Internet Bubble", in a discussion at Always-On Network:

Perhaps you've heard about the bumper sticker someone spied in Silicon Valley: "Please, God, just one more Bubble!"