Social Networking Site Market Analysis
Product and Service
Although the main functionality of TheHopeFarm will be similar to Facebook, the layout however will be much different. Some of the sections and services of the site will include…
- Main profile page where the user can voluntarily list their interests, hobbies, family life, and a section where they can describe why they are on the site. This could be because they are a cancer patient or a friend of a person that was diagnosed.
- A blog area where users can keep diary accounts of events that are prevalent in their fight against cancer or anything else that they want to share. In addition to this section, we will incorporate an application where we pick the most appropriate entries to include in a monthly online publication called “The Hope Diaries”.
- An area where users can post photos, videos, audio clips and other media.
- An information page with links to affiliate sites like American Cancer Society, Oprah.com, PinkRibbon.com, and the National Cancer Institute.
- A section where family members and friends can learn more about what they can do to help the person with cancer. There will also be a section for children that explain that it is okay for them to worry about their family member. It will also detail some ways to help deal with the pain.
- Religion page that has information about Christianity and God. The page would also include messages from a pastor that I have yet to choose. I would prefer it to be someone that is popular.
The users of the website are people who have been impacted by cancer. That could be anyone from an oncologist to the son of a woman diagnosed with breast cancer. However, the niche market is cancer patients and cancer survivors. They are the people that the site will revolve around. The site cannot accomplish its mission if either one of these populations is absent. There are appropriate positions throughout the site for other populations. For example, doctors could get on the site to stay connected with their patients. Family members of cancer patients can get on to learn more about the disease or to have their questions answered on how to support a parent or family member with cancer.
Unfortunately, a large number of people are diagnosed with cancer every year. According to the American Cancer Society, over one million people develop cancer each year. About 1 out of every 2 American men and 1 out of every 3 American women will have some type of cancer at some point during their lifetime. Anyone can get cancer at any age; but about 77% of all cancers are diagnosed in people age 55 and older (ACS). \
If you assume that every cancer patient’s family has an average size of 3, there are 3 million people that are affected by cancer each year in America alone. Therefore, each year 3 million more people are in need of the services offered on TheHopeFarm. According to Cancer Research UK, there are 10.9 million people worldwide who are diagnosed with cancer each year. Of those diagnosed, 6.7 million die from the disease. It is estimated that there are 24.6 million people alive who have received a diagnosis of cancer in the last five years (CancerResearchUK.org). If each one of the 24.6 million people worldwide had a family of 3, there would be 73.8 million people that could benefit from TheHopeFarm.
This is an industry that has huge growth potential for two main reasons. The first reason is due to the immense popularity of social networking websites. If you examine how popular other social networking sites like Facebook and Myspace are, you can see the enormous interest the public has in social networking. TheHopeFarm.com is going to take the same principles and tools that worked with other social networking sites and customize them to a niche market.
The second reason why this market is poised for growth is due to the fact that with each year a larger number of people are being diagnosed with cancer. The percentage of the population that is being diagnosed is staying the same but because the population is growing, more people are being diagnosed (SEER). Until Americans adopt a healthier lifestyle that includes healthier diets and exercise, the amount of people diagnosed with cancer will increase. Below is a graph from the American Cancer Society detailing the rising number of deaths from cancer each year.
There are no direct competitors since this is an original idea, although many sites have subsections devoted to special interest groups like cancer patients. Facebook has 5 separate groups devoted to cancer awareness that have over 300,000 members each. One group has over 800,000 members (Facebook). Google offers a section called Google Groups and some of the groups are related to cancer awareness. The groups on Google are much smaller than the groups on Facebook. No site currently offers the same services TheHopeFarm.com will offer. Facebook and Myspace are the two major competitors. Twitter.com is a micro blogging website that is growing exponentially but does not encompass the same services TheHopeFarm will offer. According to Nielsen NetView rankings for February of 2009, Facebook has grown 228% from last February. Twitter has grown an astonishing 1382% from last year (McCarthy). Twitter followed the footsteps of Facebook and Google by trying to develop a loyal audience before they developed a business model that would generate revenue. Even though TheHopeFarm will differentiate itself from Facebook and Myspace, their size and popularity could be something that could pose a problem to the growth potential for the site. Ultimately, people that are truly affected by cancer will be the main users of the site.
Another competitor is church groups that meet once a week and talk about different topics. There are a lot of groups across the country that meet and devote time to talk about cancer and how each person in the group is progressing in their fight against cancer. Unfortunately, I feel that people become reclusive when they are diagnosed with cancer and do not take advantage of programs like the church groups. Fortunately, TheHopeFarm will give these people a security blanket of being in the comfort of their home. They can choose what personal information they want to share with other people and if they are self-conscious about their physical appearance due to treatments, they can have the option of not uploading photos to the site. I think that this safety net is going to be a big part of why users will enjoy the site.
The market is going to expand over the next 10 to 20 years. Many companies are realizing that this is the information age and people are connecting and sharing information faster than ever before. With other countries around the world finally getting access to the Internet, more and more people are going to be able to access social networking sites.
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