Social networks confront challenges in rush to attract youngest users

From The Washington Post:

A growing number of social networks are racing to capture the loyalties of the Web’s youngest and most vulnerable users.

Last month, Silicon Valley-based Kazaana launched with $3 million in funding and with hopes of attracting subscribers younger than 13 who will be addicted to friending, photo-sharing and farm-tending games. Kidzworld, with its 2.2 million users, has signed up advertisers such as Crocs and Crate & Barrel. Yoursphere boasts AT&T and the American Youth Soccer Organization as paying sponsors who want to lend their services to the site’s 500,000 subscribers — from preschoolers to 17-year-olds.

Then, of course, there’s Facebook, which is pondering whether to allow preteens to join its massive social network with their parents’ permission.

On the fickle Web, most of the smaller social networks may not last, experts say. But Facebook and its rivals hope some of their staying power will come from children who will commit now and remain with them through the years.

“Facebook probably isn’t going to make a lot of money advertising to children, but the strategy is to get children to use the platform before they get pulled away by others,” said Simon Mansell, chief executive of TBG Digital, an advertising and consulting firm for big corporate brands on Facebook and Twitter.

Continue reading the rest of the story on The Washington Post