Home iYomu, Social Network for Adults, Launches With $1 Million Prize

iYomu, Social Network for Adults, Launches With $1 Million Prize

A New Zealand-based social network, iYomu, is launching globally today with a US$1 Million challenge. iYomu is branding itself as a “social networking website for grown-ups” and the site is restricted to those over 18 years old. The name of the site, iYomu, stands for “I, You, Me and Us”. Its aim is to provide a social networking space for the older generation, who may be turned off by teen hang outs like MySpace and Facebook.

To celebrate its global launch, iYomu.com has announced a competition where its online community will choose one member to receive US$1 million in the iYomu.com Challenge. More on that below.

What is iYomu?

I met the iYomu founders recently in Lower Hutt, New Zealand – my home city. It’s not often I meet a kiwi web startup going after a global market, so this was a pleasant surprise.

iYomu is specifically targeting an adult audience, because their research indicated that there were few social networking sites specifically targeting a “mature” audience. iYomu founder David Wolf-Rooney and director Frances Valintine told me that successful social networks like MySpace, Facebook and Bebo did little for adults – apart from self-confessed geeks like me obviously. Valentine said that “there are lots of benefits for grown-ups in social networking, such as staying in touch with family and friends around the world, storing and sharing important documents and photos, or finding advice”.

iYomu homepage

Initial online communities that have been created on iYomu.com include communities about the lives of working mums, property investment, golf courses and book clubs. The company says this is a change from the socialising or entertainment categories usually found in social networks for younger audiences.


iYomu is free and features one gigabyte of storage for photos and documents, search tools, a personal homepage, email account, personality test and other “easy to use tools” aimed at older internet users. People can also purchase additional storage space for their iYomu vault – and I discovered in my meeting with the founders that this is the primary business model. Also the founders confirmed that iYomu will be a global product, with the US being a major target market.

One interesting feature that iYomu has is a Flash-based personality test, called iYDNA. It uses a slick slide bar concept, making it easy to select a personality type – which you can then use to find other people who have the same interests as you.

Another neat feature is a visualization of which communities are related. For example choosing ‘Information Technology’ showed the following connections (i.e. which other communities IT people belong to):

$1 Million Challenge

The iYomu.com Challenge involves completing a series of puzzles and tasks to earn points. The top 10 points earners will be interviewed by iYomu and three grand finalists selected. Those 3 people will “explain why they should receive US$1 million and how it will change their lives”. The ultimate decision will be made by an online vote of the iYomu community in February 2008. The winner will receive US$1 million in 12 monthly instalments.

The iYomu.com Challenge begins today and runs until midnight on 31 December 2007. Users will gain points for completing a range of online activities, mostly designed to get people using the site. For example points are gained for referring friends, completing their user profiles in full and correctly solving 12 cryptic puzzles featuring locations from around the world. People must be over 18 to join iYomu.com and participate in the Challenge.


Overall, iYomu is an interesting new social network and beautifully designed. The Flash touches are especially impressive. However, it takes some effort to get started – with the personality test and profile requiring a fair amount of information. So to get the most out of the site, it will require initial time investment and effort from the user.

It will be a challenge in itself getting adults to use social networks, simply because they don’t spend anywhere near as much time socializing online as teenagers. However it is a relatively untapped market, so if iYomu takes off then it could be a very big success. And the $1 Million challenge is a great idea, to entice people to use the site and complete their full profiles; but also as a publicity stunt that will probably get mainstream media coverage.

What do you think of iYomu’s chances? Would you use a social network for grown-ups?

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