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There are a growing number of indications that the youngsters, who used to be very active Netlog users, are now flocking to Facebook.According to recent figures from Belgium’s independent media tracking body CIM, Netlog attracts about 200,000 daily visitors.“That’s why we’re expanding our brand into new territories.We’ve opened a new sales branch in Dubai, and are working to build our brand in the Middle East’s emerging internet markets. People haven’t really chosen a social networking brand yet.”It’s a typical case of the so-called Blue Ocean Strategy, a line of market management teaching coined and studied by international business school INSEAD, which also worked well for brands like Nintendo and Cirque du Soleil.The aim of the strategy is to steer clear of the ‘red ocean’ - your existing market when it becomes saturated and rife with competition, making it difficult to survive (red = the colour of blood).

More than ten years after Facebox’s launch in 2000, it’s still not clear whether Netlog, the umbrella brand under which Bogaert and co-founder Toon Coppens relaunched their network of sites in 2006, is a ‘real’ social networking venture.Those are the seas where Netlog is headed too with its recently opened Dubai office.“It’s a sound strategy for them,” says Van Belleghem.They’ve also successfully localised their site to every country where Netlog is available - a huge asset in the European market with its linguistically and culturally diverse population.