New social network for SA media, advertising industry

A new online service for the media, marketing and advertising industries that combines news and analysis with social networking is just weeks away from being launched in South Africa. is the name of the new niche social/business network, and it comes to the party with big ambitions, setting its sights on becoming “the go-to site for any and all media, marketing and advertising news in South Africa”. It’s also promising a “fresh take on social networking”.

The new venture is being launched by well-known financial news and information publisher Fin24, and features veteran advertising and marketing guru Tony Koenderman, who is also a columnist on the site and its sister print brand, FinWeek. The social network has been developed by Blueworld, a youth social network specialist and development company.

Tim Spira, CEO of Fin24 explains: “We’ve basically built a news resource and a social network for the advertising, marketing and media industries. These industries are built on relationships, between people and between companies, all of which are very conducive to social networking.”

Squeezeback will provide users with the latest breaking news, opinion, analysis and commentary, all within the context of a social networking platform designed to encourage sharing and interaction. Spira is pitching the product as a business tool, “more like LinkedIn than Facebook”.

Users are expected to engage with Squeezeback in a number of ways: Simple chatting, commenting, networking and profiling themselves and their work, or simply as a way of landing a dream job. Squeezeback claims that it will offer the “perfect environment to profile yourself or your business”.

The process has been driven by Fin24 but has involved some other companies in the local marketing space. Hayley Goodwin of Fin24 explains that “the Blueworld guys are developing the site or network, Gloo [A Cape Town-based agency] did the initial mailer concept and we’ve also entered into a partnership with The Digital Edge [a marketing podcast] to show intent with our provision of news regarding the digital sector of the industry”.

Details of how the site will work are being kept under wraps, but a beta version of the social network has been in testing with a few hundred participants ahead of the upcoming launch in October.

Spira reckons the timing is right for a network of this nature. The industry is in flux right now and there is a realignment of strategy and focus.

Spira explains: “The media industry is undergoing major changes. There is a dramatic shift in thinking. Digital agencies have got the momentum right now and there is a consolidation in industry. We’re seeing digital agencies taking the role of leading campaign generators, rather than being appendages to traditional agencies.”

Will Squeezeback be able to find traction amongst the wired, tech-savvy community? Is there space on the local landscape for another social network? How will established competitors in this space react?

  • Squeezeback is offering users who set up their profile and refer three friends before 30 September 2010 a chance to win an iPad.

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