Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Social Networking for Cardsharks

In the beginning, Al Gore invented the Internet. He said let there be social networking, and there was MySpace. And it was good. At least until Facebook came along, then MySpace was crap. There have been many iterations of social networks in the past decade, with Facebook the clear winner in the US. At this point the only way to compete is to spin off into something different, like Twitter, or find a niche. PokerNations found our niche.

As poker players, we were never left without a place to find each other on-line. Both MySpace and Facebook have poker communities that are searchable in their respective Groups functionality. As a Ning.com member I belong to various special interest networks created by members. Although limited, I found my share of poker buddies in his manner.

The search for a poker playing social network branched out to other dedicated web sites. Most added to the poker network category as a group blogging engine and little else.

Which brings me to the good news: Poker players now have a bone fide community in PokerNations.com. It has all the trimmings one would expect: user profiles, commenting, blogging, events, polls, forum...think MySpace. Don’t think Facebook because the design and functionality is not nearly as refined as Facebook. Yes, think MySpace, only without the glitter and animated gifs. (thanks God)

I’m not trying to discourage you from joining, just trying to manage your expectations. PokerNations is a very young web site and is bound to improve. They are off to a good start. They have relationships with the Poker Player’s Alliance, the Twitter Poker Tour and other online poker organizations. They have courted a few pros as members. They are integrated with Twitter and use keywords like apps and widgets to define them self. They even have a chip earning system to encourage activity on the site which can be used as entries for prizes including a (non-main event) WSOP Vegas trip.

Long story short, every on-line poker player should probably be a member of PokerNations just for the sake of community. They will no doubt host PokerNations endorsed tournaments and freerolls and rakeback and all the other poker playing/marketing tropes, some of which I may want in on and some of which I may block. When it comes down to it, poker players are online to play more than network, but when you're invited to the party, I say there is no reason to be antisocial.

11 comments:

  1. Thanks for the review!

    One of the things we wanted to avoid was the absolute mess that was Myspace (i.e. members changing their profiles so drastically that you can't find the info you want or have to hunt to find annoying music playing, or they overload it with flashing graphics that crash or freeze your browser.

    Right now we're on a white label solution that is customizable to an extent, but limits some of our capabilities. We are working on building a custom solution that will give us the ability to make the network even more feature-rich and useful for everyone.

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  2. Overall, you did a great job with it. My only other complaint that the site is a bit slow That must be because you have a lot of members accessing, so congrats.

    I hope you make some money off it so you can add more servers and such ;-)

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  3. PokerNations is the best technologically. The only problem is that there are too many biased members (representing their poker business).

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  4. True, but kinda unavoidable.

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  5. We're actually on a dedicated server and it doesn't appear slow on my end. What browser version/type are you using and is it only slow in specific areas or the entire site?

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  6. Steve, thanks for mentioning PokerNations - it is good to have a site combining all of the features that us amateurs and semi-pros desire. Now that Railbirds.com seems to be languishing, this was a good time for me to sign up and see what Pokernatiions.com had to offer.

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  7. Fantastic review, Grundy.

    It is always welcoming to read well composed information on your site. Not common here.

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  8. I use the newest Firefox on a Mac. I found it slow whenever I go back to my "home" or "profile" after somewhere else on the site.

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  9. Never a big Railbirds fan.

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  10. What no plug for your own site? I'm disappointed. ;-)

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  11. Having a niche social site is a hard battle, it's like starting a twitter poker site. I wish the owner best of luck.

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