If Christos Cotsakos has his way, the future of social networking will flow through West Palm Beach, Fla.
That is where Cotsakos, a serial entrepreneur who spent six years as the CEO of E*Trade, is basing Moli, a social networking site where professionals can manage their social, business and family profiles in one account.
Moli, the flagship subsidiary of Cotsakos' broader Mainstream Holdings business, will launch at Demo 08 Jan. 28 in Palm Desert, Calif.
While Facebook and MySpace put social networking at the forefront of the public's consciousness by appealing to teenagers and college students, Moli (short for Money and Living) is targeting engineers, architects, scientists and filmmakers in the underserved age range of 25 to 55.
"We're building a newer brand that may not have that brand of choice from 2003," Cotsakos told eWEEK in an interview before the show. "If we've got the gap analysis right, and execute correctly we should be able to step on shoulders of people before us."
Most social networks were created with a focus on letting users find each other and make connections. Moli, designed by Cotsakos and other financial service veterans, was created with a focus on empowering its members, many of whom may be small business owners, with greater control over their personal information.
Moli addresses the online privacy issues that have afflicted other social networks by providing members, who must be more than 18 years of age, with one master account where they can have multiple profiles.
Members can choose to render their profiles as public, private and hidden, thanks to CoVibe, a patent-pending technology platform created by CoVibe Tech, a sister company of Moli and another subsidiary of Mainstream.
CoVibe, crafted from the open-source LAMP stack, analyzes aggregate member data and triggers targeted behavioral marketing while protecting the member's personal information.
For example, members receive a basic version of this aggregated data called CoVibe Live, a real-time snapshot that highlights blurbs of information about the people who visit a member's profiles, such as age, gender and geographic location.
Moli will eventually offer for purchase CoVibe Reporting, a more sophisticated type of business intelligence tool that puts psychographic and demographic data in packages designed for individuals, small businesses and advertisers.
Moli publishes freelance articles and video from Moli's high-definition video sister company Tertiary Productions. Moli uses AJAX-based tools to let members drag and drop their way to site customization. Small businesses can create their own Web site and add e-commerce capabilities to sell their products or services.
Cotsakos, who plans to open up the platform for private labeling later this year, said Moli is enabled for mobile devices out of the gate. The CEO said Moli will enable micro-blogging and other popular services users access via smartphones.
"We see the mobile device becoming extremely important," Cotsakos said, noting how smartphones are largely replacing PCs as preferred means of work and collaboration in Japan. "You gotta believe Google is going to play in mobile, creating a huge environment for the mobile apps."
Moli membership is free for one Web site, but users will pay $1.99 per month for each additional Web site; $2.49 per month for no ads; and $3.99 per month to add transaction capabilities to a Web site.