Outside of a small microcosm, the phrase “social network” tends to bring to mind a short list of names usually led by MySpace and Facebook, and for those whose memory spans back to buzzword bingo from a few years ago, Friendster too.
Beyond the two biggest names, and the first to break the ground, there are also hundreds of other sites that offer similar features and fall under similar classification. Some of these sites target specialty niches like sports fans at particular universities (Fsurules.com) others are more multi-national in focus (Bebo).
San Francisco based Hi5 is among the larger social network sites beyond MySpace and Facebook. And according to a report published yesterday on Venture Beat, they’ve raised $20m in a private financing led by Mohr Davidow Ventures. There’s been no official press release, and no terms or details have been disclosed so far.
While Hi5 doesn’t receive a lot of publicity in the press, it is widely used. Unlike Facebook which is English language only, Hi5 has been international from its start. The company has versions of its site coded in English, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch and German. (For Facebook, non-English language expansion is in the works and translation of their site is “in process,” they’ve said).
According to Alexa traffic reports Hi5 has three month global average traffic rank of 11. It is the top destination in Portugal, Costa Rica and a top ten destination for much of Latin America. In the U.S. their traffic rank is 74. In contrast, MySpace has a three month global traffic rank of 6 and is number 3 in the U.S and 8 in the U.K Facebook has a global traffic rank of 13 but a U.S. rank of 1 and a U.K. rank of 6) .
Hi5, which thus far, has not had a publicized venture deal, is according to their website profitable.