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Dontstayin.com is an online community focused around clubbing and dance music - you could call it "myspace for clubbers" and it has got to be one of the most under-the-radar and under-rated social sites on the the internet. Just like myspace, dontstayin has just got on with building its profile with its core userbase rather than promoting itself to geeks and as a result none of the usual web 2.0 people have ever heard of it.
Traffic to the site is really starting to take off as it slowly builds out its membership base:
- The site has 160k users which is low compared to the Bebos and myspace's of this world but with 10k signing up last month dontstayin is clearly gaining a lot of traction
- Last month just under 5000 club events are listed on the site mainly in London and Ibiza
- There are nearly 3 million photos taken at club nights uploaded into the database
- The site does 20m page impressions a month
Dontstayin offers a number of features, all of which help to create a community around club nights, users on dontstayin can do the following stuff:
- build a profile on the site showing what music you like, where you go clubbing and who you're mates on the site are
- upload photos of recent nights out which are linked to your profile by you or others "spotting you" in them
- comment on photos, events and articles and chat in the chatroom
- write articles and reviews of club nights, DJ's and other burning issues
- join groups relating to specific nights or interests
For promotors dontstayin offers a digital platform for promoting events allowing them to:
- enter events and listings into the calender and manage a group around the night
- post messages, news and competitions to your group
One of the most interesting things about dontstayin is the way the site initially worked to build up its userbase in a very organic way. If you went clubbing in certain places a couple of years ago you might have had your picture taken by someone from dontstayin who would give you a card saying "you've been spotted" with the dontstayin.com web address. This was a brilliant way of drawing people into the site as it ensured that the all important "seed members" were dedicated clubbers who would draw in similar people. It also meant that the spotters could focus on attracting valuable members to the site (e.g. attractive females). Just as myspace is cool today because of the original members Tom and Co. recruited in LA dontstayin still attracts the right crowd two years later because of the way the site recruited these first members.
The other clever thing that dontstayin did was to link avatars to photos on the site. You can only use a photo of yourself on dontstayin as your avatar. This means that users are a) encouraged to upload their photos b) prevented from fully participating in the community if they dont go out clubbing.
These days dontstayin also benefits from promotors marketing the site on flyers and posters as shown below:
A poster in Old St with the dontstayin logo
So what should dontstayin do to raise its game? Here's a few quick suggestions:
- improve the User Interface - the main complaint about dontstayin from users is the navigation - it can be really hard to find your way round the site at times and a lot of the content just gets lost in the void
- reach users outside the current segments - dontstayin could push into non-clubbing music genres like Indie or the whole UKurban/ grime scene
- increased rollout to new countries - the site is very UK focused right now but is slowly expanding overseas - the english speaking markets such as Australia, the USA and Canada are the the obvious first places to focus on
- improved mobile features - the site could look to offer mobile access to the event listings and so on and maybe integrate mobile upload of photos onto the site
- encourage clubs to provide a URL with a direct link to their dontstayin page on their flyers and other promotional stuff
- develop widgets to allow people to post a link to their dontstayin photos or clubbing calendar on other social networks like myspace
Im really surprised this site hasn't been acquired or invested in yet given the feeding frenzy around online communities and social networks these days. Dontstayin would make a great target for someone like Ministry of Sound who are now focusing their new media efforts on user-generated content and other social stuff. Alternatively, an existing listings magazine like Mixmag or Time Out might be a buyer. Someone might like to tell one of the more clued-up VC's like Benchmark or Sequoia about this site.
In the meantime, dontstayin represents a really great channel for clubs, DJ's, producers and individuals looking for an alternative social site to myspace.