The phenomenon of cats on Facebook (News - Alert) isn't exactly unheard of. Some cats even have their own Facebook profiles created for them by loving owners who want to spread the word about their cats and their associated doings. But now, a pair of developers in Malaysia is looking to get cats off Facebook by instead bringing them into a social network specifically designed for them: Catmoji.
Catmoji, created by developers Matthew Phiong and Koekoe Loo Wan Koe, made their case about as clear as can be, telling Betabeat: "We want to be Facebook for cats." To that end, Catmoji focuses heavily on pictures and video, keeping the text to a minimum. This has already put a lot of users in mind of Pinterest rather than Facebook when they get an eyeful of the kitty-heavy site. Those uploading the pictures and video have the option to tag (News - Alert) their uploads by emotion--which is actually where the name comes from--and in turn allows others to search specifically for, say, "cute", "funny", or "sad".
Image via Shutterstock
Interestingly, Catmoji is not the first social network designed around cats. Competitors like Catster and Unitedcats are already in play and have been for some time. But Catmoji may well have a claim on a much more unusual niche. Since, as mentioned previously, Catmoji focuses on video and pictures, things that cats themselves can more readily interact with, Catmoji can more properly call itself a social network specifically for cats. Sure, they haven't quite got the hang of the mouse...yet...but with a little navigation help from those who have thumbs, cats can better get in on the action. Places like Catster and Unitedcats, meanwhile, might better be called social networks for cat owners.
Catmoji only just launched Christmas Eve, so for those who want to see lots of cute cat pictures in one place, a bit of a wait will be encouraged to get plenty of backlog going. Still, though, it's enough to make one wonder how long until developers, seeing the success of Facebook and wondering "why not me?" decide to whomp up their own social network specifically geared around some niche or another. Sports fans social network, gamers' social network, social networks specifically geared toward fans of the nineties television series "Frasier", the sky is quite literally the limit. Some such breeds have even started to crop up; gamers already have social networking of their own in places like GamerNook, GamesGrabr, and others.
While advertisers might not be so inclined to buy ad space on a social network that doesn't have the huge user count of Facebook, others might take an interest thanks to its incredibly specific focus. An advertiser buying space on a site that's specifically for video gamers and not much else certainly isn't out of line even if the numbers aren't as Facebook-esque as the concept. It wouldn't be hard at all to envision, say, Petsmart taking an interest in Catmoji.
Whether Catmoji can survive, and whether it will spawn imitators, in the long term remains to be seen, but it's a clever twist on the social networking concept and one that may well be recognized and capitalized upon.
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Edited by Brooke Neuman