Hip-Hopping the Web
An interesting new site debuts today called Global Grind–an aggregation and destination site aimed specifically at the hip-hop community–that combines what looks like the widgety NetVibes home-page approach with a hipper version of Digg plus a lot of curated content-pointing.
It’s not so different in its technology or even its look (see below)–you could swap out its hip-hop content with, say, parenting-oriented stuff and have Mommy Grind instead. It is free and ad-supported and hopes to grow via viral methods (blah, blah, blah).
But the move to ever more niche-oriented social-networking type offerings for users is definitely a development to watch. With giant sites like Facebook and MySpace becoming as generic as Yahoo and AOL of old, more and more sites will be looking for an edge by drilling down deeply to serve a highly targeted audience.
This is, of course, back to the future in concept. Many years ago, a plethora of sites were aimed a specific demographic groups–gay sites, Hispanic sites and also African-American sites–and boomed in popularity.
But most of those have seen a falloff lately, as the traditional portal approach has given way to the social-networking paradigm of hyper-community and interactivity.
Promising to deliver “your Web filtered fresh”–don’t ask me what that means, as I am what you might call anti-hip–Global Grind will aim at a wide-ranging audience that identifies with the hip-hop culture, well beyond simply music. The site’s creator, Navarrow Wright, said there are about 24 million people in the U.S.–across all demographics–who do.
“We want to become an aggregation epicenter,” said Wright (who used to run technology for BET.com) in an interview with me yesterday. “It is all about distributed content and getting audiences the information they value.”
I would agree.
Also interesting is Global Grind’s mix of investors–hip-hip impresario Russell Simmons and Accel Partners Jim Breyer (who trumps me in the anti-hip department, it must be said).
“My entire life has been about promoting the best talent and important causes, and I was amazed at how Global Grind was building an online destination to do just this and was using technology in a really innovative way,” said Simmons.
“The theme fits with our view that there is enormous investment opportunity in content and advertising networks that target specific audiences through the creation of an owned and operated hub combined with spokes or affiliates,” wrote Breyer to me in an email. The formation of grassroots micro-communities and Web 2.0 infrastructure is allowing these new media models to evolve.”
Now that’s some fresh geekspeak for you!