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MocoSpace

Content: ****  Usability: XXX
mocospace.com/ (xhtml-mp)
 MocoSpace Image MocoSpace is one of the newest mobile social networking sites, launching just last April . It's easy to create a MocoSpace site. You have to register at mocospace.com which is relatively painless requiring only that you give an email address and specify a password and username. Your username is your public identity on MocoSpace and also the name of your site. Your site is instantly active with a url of mocospace.com/u/user_name. Those slashes are a pain to enter on a phone keypad, a subdomain format (user_name.mocospace.com) would be easier. MocoSpace uses browser detection to deliver either a PC formatted html page or a WAP2 xhtml-mp or WAP1 wml one depending on your browser capabilities. The browser detection seems reasonably good although I got the PC version on Opera Mini which was only marginally usable. I found that you can force mobile output by using the url mocospace.com/wap for wml or mocospace.com/wap2 for xhtml.

Mocospace seems to be targeting young singles looking to meet new people and has a little more of a dating site feel to then most of the other MoSoSo sites. Many MocoSpace users seem to be using it more as a photo sharing and general chat site.
A Mocospace site consists of a main page with an optional photo, some information about your from your profile (name, age, gender, hometown and an "About Me" text that you can create ) and links to a fixed set of pages:

  • Options - This ambiguously named page leads to your personal chat room where people can communicate with you in real time - which seems like a good alternative to SMS at least if you have unlimited browsing but pay for SMS. You can limit your Chat room to Friends Only or leave it open to everyone which is the default. Also on the options page is your MocoSpace Relationship Status the most overly dating-site feature of MocoSpace. This seems to be unrelated to the Relationship field in your profile and refers to whether you are engaged in a relationship to another MocoSpace member. There are even links where another member can propose to you with the following choices: go steady, engagement or marriage. Finally there is a history button where you can see the users Mocospace relationship history.
  • Friends Comments - View comments left on your page by others
  • Photos - You can upload your photos directly of the PC version of Mocospace and by email or SMS. Photos must be approved presumably to enforce the site's rules against profanity, violence, nudity and offensive or copyrighted material. Approval, on a Sunday at that, took only a couple of hours. Photos can be .png, jpg or gifs as MocoSpace Image long as they are under 300KB. They are resized to thumbnails of 90px on the longest dimension with original aspect ratio and quality maintained pretty well. On the mobile site only the resized images are viewable but on the PC site you can click the thumbnail to view the original.
  • Videos - must be in .3gp format and under 300KB which is pretty small allowing only about 10 seconds of CIF (176x144) video
  • Blog - Blogging features are limited. The only formatting seems to be that that newlines are preserved but otherwise it's strictly plain text. No bold, lists, etc. Users can leave comments.
  • Reviews - Can be of anything. Movie and Music reviews predominate. Similar to blog posts but they have a category and star rating fields and can include a photo.
  • Friends - This is just a list of people who have left comments on your page.
  • Favorites - You can tag other people's photos and videos as favorites and they appear on this page.

You can customize your MocoSpace homepage somewhat. You can change the the background and text colors and upload a background image. These changes only apply to your home page not to any of your other pages like photos, reviews or blogs.

MocoSpace also has a number of features at the top level independent of any individual users site:

  • Browse Users - See a list of all users online and search for members by name, age, gender, sexual preference, relationship status or proximity to a zipcode.
  • Photos, Videos, Blogs, Reviews - Browse and search any of these.
  • Chat - 13 Chatrooms on various topics like Party, Tivia, Canada, UK and Romance.
  • Forums - subforums on Mobile Phones, Music, Movies & TV, Sports, etc.
  • Love - This is where you can track Mocospace relationships with three lists; newest relationships, longest relationships and recent breakups. Wow, talk about living your life in public.
  • Top Rated - users can rate other's MocoSpace pages - this is where you can find which sites get the most votes and highest ratings.
  • Invite friends - send an invite by email or SMS. MocoSpace Image

MocoSpace seems to be gaining users pretty quickly, the forums and chat rooms are very active. Overall, I think it's a pretty good new effort at a MoSoSo site but lacks any unique feature to really set it apart from the competition. Everything works and the site is fast and attractively designed with good mobile usability. Mocospace is supported both small banner ads and text ads which are generally unobtrusive except that the site occasionally forces you to click on an ad to continue using the site (bottom image)! You can remove the ads with a premium membership at $2/month.

Although it's a mobile site, MocoSpace it doesn't really leverage the mobile phone's unique ability to find friends, contacts, events, clubs, etc near my location now. Of course, location information is not available to off-portal sites in the US. But it will be someday and already there is Dodgeball, which it doesn't even have a mobile web site, but has built a location aware social network entirely on SMS. You send a text message telling Dodgeball where you are and the site texts your location to any of your friends who are nearby. Dodgeball is showing the feasability of location based MoSoSo (MoLoSoSo?) and building a base of users who understand the concept. When the carriers make location information available on the mobile web Dodgeball could already own the market. MocoSpace and similar sites will need to cover the location-based aspect of mobile social software to remain competivive.
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