$15M for Tagged… Why?

July 23, 2007 by Lisa Oshima | Financing, Social Media

Today, TechCrunch revealed big news in social networking investing: Hi-5 got $20 Million in Financing from Mohr Davidow Ventures and Tagged

Hi-5 I understand, but Tagged?!  Whoa.  That’s a whole lot of mula — especially for a social networking site that no one I know uses (especially given that I blog about Social Networking).  A few friends I know that tried Tagged a while back disparaged it calling it an “agent de spam.”  So, I couldn’t help but laugh when I read some of the comments on TechCrunch with similar observations:

apparently raised $15 Million from an unknown investors on a $102 Million pre-money evaluation.

  1. Richard Miller

    Tagged’s system of invitation resembles that of a virus to me. It automatically checks all your e-mail contacts and sends invitations to a lot of people. But do you really want to tag them all? That is the question.

  2. Sunny Kalara

    How did the spam site get a valuation of $117M? I have gotten more apologies from red-faced friends for inadvertent-spamming from using Tagged service then any other web service.

    Also, can somebody explain to me why, if I click on the “browse” in Tagged, 80%+ of the pictures are of scantily dressed women? And many of them have joined on June 7, 2007; how convenient! When did the demographic of web surfer change? Why didn’t I get a memo?

Having not tried Tagged myself, I figured it wasn’t fair to question the valuation until I learned more and maybe tried it myself.  I started off trying to learn more about Tagged by visiting the website.  However, I couldn’t find a decent explanation of what Tagged is (beyond a social network) on the consumer site.  It took jumping to the “corporate site” to find out anything about it.  Even there, the explanation was basic, if not ambiguous:

Tagged.com is a premier social networking destination and an ideal place for advertisers to reach their target audience.

Tagged provides a fun, safe, and exciting environment for people to showcase their personalities and talents, and to connect with friends and meet new ones.

Tagged is experiencing dramatic growth Advertisers love Tagged because they get clear, uncomplicated access to our audience. Our team is dedicated to making every advertiser successful and can develop and support any type of ad campaign.

I couldn’t get excited about the prospect of joining a social network that none of my friends/ aquaintences participate in, that I’ve heard spam nightmares about, that doesn’t tell me exactly what “features” I’m signing up for, and which, apparently, “Advertisers love.”  Joining a site that admits to giving advertisers “clear, uncomplicated access” to me and my “friends”. (Yeah, I know Google does it, but I also know exactly what I’m getting in return.)  I was floored by the self-reported stats on Tagged, which illustrate that clearly my reservations aren’t shared by everyone:

  • 30MM registered members
  • 10MM unique visitors every month
  • 1B page views per month
  • 10MM hours spent/month

With numbers like that I can see why someone was willing to roll the dice with such a big investment.  But, I was still unsure about why anyone would sign up.  Unsatisfied with the explanation on Tagged’s corporate site and unable to find an explanation of features anywhere else, I bit the bullet and started to sign up, hoping that the registration process would tell me more.  It didn’t.

After providing my name, birthday, and email address, Tagged asked me to provide my password for my Gmail account – presumably so that it could suck potential network invitees from my address list.  It wouldn’t let me bypass that step.  Afraid of spamming my entire address book, I terminated the registration process.

It amazes me that a company that doesn’t overtly explain what it does or what features you’ll get by signing up has been able to secure so many users.  It also amazes me that so many people would actually give a company their email address and password and allow them to infiltrate their private address book without knowing what that company is going to do with the information.  I guess this all proves that:

  1. On-line consumers aren’t as demanding of on-line privacy as I expected, and
  2. The bubble and big risk investment are back to stay… at least for now.
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