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When most of us think of online social networks, we will most likely think of Facebook.

Facebook is by far the most popular social networking site we have today with 500 million Facebook users.
However, Mark was definitely not the first person to build a social network – he was only the first to succeed in the way he did.
In truth, one of the first social networks that really took off, was called Sixdegrees.com.
It was founded by Andrew Weinreich, a well-known Internet entrepreneur and executive. Weinreich began his career working as a financial analyst and after a short time, he returned to school to study law. He worked as a legal professional for 2 years. It was during this time that he devised the concept of an online social network that made the process of “meeting people you don’t know through people you know more efficient.”
It was in 1997 when he launched Sixdegrees. At its peak, the site had 3,500,000 users and 100 employees. Weinreich later sold the site to Youthstream Media Networks in December 2000 for $ 125 million. Weinreich is currently the CEO of meetMoi – a mobile dating service based on location, as well as the president of Xtify, a platform for geodirected mobile messaging.
Sixdegrees was based on the type of social media contacts. Weinreich was inspired by the theory that every person in the world is connected to all other people from no more than six steps, also known as the concept of “six degrees of separation.” It was also the first social networking site to combine the features found in other dating sites and community sites into one. Users can create personal profiles, set up friend lists and browse friend lists that belong to other users within their network. They could send messages, join networks and send invitations to family and friends to become members of the Six Degrees.
Writing this now in 2010, none of this seems so impressive. However, in 1997, no other site offered a combination of these features.
Unfortunately, Sixdegrees did not last long, and it certainly did not take advantage of the popularity or support that a site like Facebook has today. There were a number of reasons that contributed to the failure of this social network:
1) At that time, web technology was not yet developed to the point where it could support the features necessary for this type of application to succeed;
2) Despite its 3,500,000 registered users, Sixdegrees could not accumulate the number of users needed before its money ran out;
3) The features available to Sixdegrees users were not as attractive as they could have been and could not keep their users coming back;
4) Factors that were beyond the control of the company had a negative effect on their ability to benefit from online advertising. These events included a recession after April 2000, in addition to 11 s and in the year 11 and;
5) The online advertising industry was not mature enough to provide enough online advertisers to support their business model.
Factors 4 and 5 probably contributed more to its downfall, however, Sixdegrees marked the beginning of a new era in online communication and networking. Despite its ephemeral success, it paved the way for users such as Facebook, LinkedIn and many others.

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