TravBuddy, a social network built around travel, announced that it has hit the one million user mark. The network was launched in 2005, but over the past six months has seen its membership grow 100 fold. Why the big increase? One reason is clear: Facebook.Today
In May, TravBuddy launched an a Facebook app called the TravBuddy.com Countries Visited Map, which lets users put a flash map on their profiles displaying which countries they've visited. The app has just under 500,000 users, all of which have signed up for an account on TravBuddy as well.
TravBuddy's Facebook app ranks 4th for most active users among applications in the travel section with nearly 10,000 users logging in daily. But does that activity on Facebook translate to activity on the TravBuddy web site? Or does it even matter?
It's hard to tell if TravBuddy's Facebook users are making the jump to the site itself, but my money is that most of them aren't. Of the site's 1 million users, just 13,000 travel blogs have been posted, and just 1 photo has been uploaded to the site for every 3 users. To me, that suggests that most of those Facebook users are staying strictly users of the Facebook widget. But that may not matter.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that the largest apps on Facebook are starting to make money from advertising, and TravBuddy is already operating on a mostly advertising supported business model. There is no reason they can't try to monetize their Facebook users on Facebook in a similar way. Further, the barrier for entry is so low for Facebook applications that even if they aren't capturing a ton of users from their app, it is likely still worth it.
Further, the site is very active. Every time I visited TravBuddy today, there was new content that had been submitted from users within the past 10 minutes, and it seems like a very loyal user base has grown up around the site over the past two years.
TravBuddy's Facebook app is in direct competition with the Where I've Been application that last week made the jump to MySpace. Where I've Been is much more popular on Facebook than TravBuddy (with about 5 times as many users), but on MySpace it is TravBuddy that has the head start. Their MySpace widget has been around since last December.