Looks like the trend of social networks will never die. While Facebook is for friends, Twitter is for a more general networking and Google+ is still struggling to find its audience, a lot of niche social networks are popping up with a very selective audience in mind.
One of the latest to join this craze is Wizters, which is unique in that it is a social network that is based on the concept of anonymity. It is mainly aimed at college students. Everything one does on the site is done anonymously, and the identity of the user is not shared at all. Apart from being a social network, it also acts as a matchmaker, trying to match college students with their crushes.
Wizters works on the concept that everyone loves gossip, and being anonymous while sharing gossip is definitely a more attractive option.
At present, the features of the website are quite limited. After signing up with an email id, users have to enter their college name. Till January, people were able to add colleges to the website, but from May 20th with the new version, users will have to request for colleges to be added and it will then be curated. There are presently 268 colleges from across the country listed with IIIT-Delhi, IIT-Delhi and ITM University being the most active.
There are currently two features on the site. The first allows one to post text and pictures to your college network anonymously. These posts can then be up voted and down voted. One can either make the gossip public or private. Public is visible to all college networks while private will only be seen up users in your college network.
You can also add secondary college networks and follow the gossip from those colleges in a secondary feed. Users can’t post or comment on post in other networks. We think the implementation of the dual feed is done excellently.
The second feature is Wizters Love – the matchmaking feature which allows you to enter the email details of your crush, along with his/her email id. You can also add a level of the crush along with a personal message. Wizters then sends a mail notifying that someone has a crush on him/her. Once the other person signs up, he/she will also fills out his/her crushes. If there is a match Wizters will setup a date for the involved people to meet and their identities to get revealed.
The site and service was built by founder Apoorv Saini, a fourth year CSE undergrad from IIIT-Delhi who designed and developed the whole fleet of web and mobile applications. The company has now assembled a team of interns from IIIT-Delhi and DU to work on Wizters this summer, in preparation for a new version of Wizters which is scheduled to go live on May 20. The team working this summer includes seven interns (3rd and 4th year engineering undergraduates) and five core members (all 4th year).
Talking about how the site came into being Apoorv says, “The idea developed in June 2011, when one of my friends gave me the idea. We developed and discussed the idea during June and July 2011. The actual development of the site started in December 2011 (in stealth mode) and as I had to cope with my studies too, I only coded during weekends. Wizters was launched in public beta in June 2012. I created the Wizters’s Android app in just six days.”
The site is presently funded by Apoorv and one of his professors, who is an advisory member on the company’s board. The company will seek outside funding after the launch of its next version.
The service has apps for Windows Phone and Android also. While the Windows Phone app can be downloaded from the store, the beta Android app (works only on 2.2-3.0 devices) is presently not available on the Play Store and must be downloaded from the website. The full versions of the Android, iOS and BB apps are expected in June and a mobile version of the site is will be launched soon.
The company plans to launch a new version on May 20, which will have a whole lot of new features including the ability to share anonymously with Facebook friends on Wizters. Wizters will also get its own ecosystem of apps and games that involve anonymity. There will also be an app that will allow users to chat with other users in a college network anonymously.
The company also plans to launch SaSi, a voice mailing system, that will allow voice gossips and voice mailing between users.
We think a social network like this definitely has an audience, and will be a great place for college students to get news and find out about events happening around them. While this is targeted at college students we can also see this service growing in other networks like offices.
We will be keeping an eye out when the new version of Wizters launches next week.