Home Multiply: A Different Approach To Social Networking

Multiply: A Different Approach To Social Networking

Written by Alex Iskold and edited by
Richard MacManus.

In our Social betworking
faceoff post
we did not cover Multiply.com, but
afterwards we were contacted by the Multiply team and asked to take a look at their
technology. We found it unique and interesting, so we are bringing you this analysis
post. Multiply has recently experienced substantial growth and now has 3M registered
users. The service has been around for quite some time and its core is family
and friends networks. But unlike many social networks, particularly MySpace, in
Multiply the focus is on how individuals consume information in the social
. Other places focus on socializing first and foremost.

I spoke this morning with Multiply’s president and founder, Peter Pezaris, and was
quite impressed with Multiply’s approach. At first glance, the site is not that different
from other sharing sites, but after a careful look it is clear that Multiply has
developed some unique and interesting technology that is not available elsewhere. Like
many other sites, Multiply has blogs, pictures, video, music, calendar and link sharing
capabilities. These features appear on the user profile page, like this one, where other users can look and comment
on them. But Multiply also offers a fundamentally different way of consuming
personalized information

Proximity Score: Multiply’s PageRank

All relationships within Multiply network are of a certain type. For example, friends
links are different from family links – and even immediate family links like parent and
sibling are different from aunt and niece. Multiply utilizes information about
relationship types to compute a proximity score between two individuals. Think of the
proximity score as a kind of Google page rank, because it allows Multiply to rank the
relevance of the content. For example, when another Multiply user posts a picture or a
blog entry – the algorithm computes how relevant this piece of information is to you.

All new items that Multiply computes as relevant to you are shown under the Explore
tab. When I saw this, I immediately thought of a term that I have been thinking about for
sometime: ‘a feed for you’. This is an aggregated, dynamic and highly
personalized view of news, events, photos, videos and music from all members of your
network. The best part is that Multiply computes this automatically, without you doing
any work.

Relevancy Knob & Other Options

I also noticed that the personalized view of activity within your network has some
interesting options. For example, you can choose to see more or less content by tweaking
the relevancy knob. You can also organize the information by activity or freshness, as
well as select to see only particular types of information – like photos or blog entries.
The user interface is also smart about understanding what you do not want. For
example if you have not replied to a post, it will go away after a certain amount of
time. Little things like that make a lot of difference in user experience.


I think the privacy + personalization + automation angle here is clearly a winner. It
does not guarantee, however, that people will get it or will choose the site because of
this angle. As we know, there are many factors that go into a decision to pick one social
network over another. Perhaps adding more flare and features to the site would help the
adoption, but the current focus is certainly the key differentiator.

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