Nick Jr, the pre-school television channel operated by Nickelodeon, has become the latest sponsor for “social networking” site netmums, joining BT, Pampers and home-delivery company Ocado.
Netmums – netmums.com – is a network of local websites providing information and advice for parents with young children. Founded in 2000, it now has 51,000 registered members in 90 UK towns and cities.
Siobhan Freegard, ex-marketing director of Keith Prowse Hospitality and one of netmums co-founders, says: “The sites don’t take advertising as such – there are no banners or pop-ups. Instead, we want to work with a small number of partners on a long-term basis, preferably brands which have a local presence.”
Freegard confirms that netmums is in talks with a number of potential sponsors, including at least two major high street retailers.
In those areas where netmums sites have been established longest, membership stands at 15 per cent of households with children. Extrapolating those figures for the whole of the UK, Freegard believes that a total registered membership of 1 million should be achievable within a relatively short time.
Rather than being set up by service providers, content owners or similar companies, social networking sites are set up and driven by ordinary users with a common interest. These sites offer opportunities to exchange information and ideas either online or face-to-face. They are also perceived as a key area of growth for marketers looking to capitalise on the internet, following the success of sites such as Friends Reunited.