Piczo, the social networking site, is launching a UK office in a bid to win a greater share of the local marketing and advertising spend. It is the first overseas move for the company.
Piczo US chief executive Jeremy Verba has been in the UK this week helping to set up the new office, which is being seen as a gateway for expansion into Europe for the company.
Verba says he is looking to develop a senior UK team as part of a move to attract more brand advertisers to its site.
Piczo claims to be growing faster than rivals such as MySpace, Bebo and FaceParty. It is hoping to appeal to advertisers such as music labels and film studios that are struggling to reach teenagers and young adults as they move away from traditional media.
The site has already built up a following of 10 million users a month over the past two years without any formal advertising. It attracts 4 million teenagers, usually between 13 and 16 years old, in the UK. Verba says the site has not needed to use above-the-line or traditional advertising because it has grown through word-of-mouth. He adds: “You don’t need to spend money on marketing when your customers are doing it for you.”
MySpace, which is owned by News Corporation, showed the potential in the sector when it signed a $900m (&£477m) deal with Google earlier this month for the latter to provide search and keyword-based advertising on the site.