A MySpace for Mom and Dad

Startup Cozi Central threw modern-day Tupperware parties in Seattle, where the parents who attended became the perfect word-of-mouth marketers for a social network for adults.

By Michael V. Copeland, Business 2.0 Magazine senior writer

(Business 2.0 Magazine) -- Until now, social-networking sites marketed themselves to business users (LinkedIn) or teens (MySpace and Facebook). But Cozi Central, a free online service founded by Microsoft (Charts) veterans and making its first big marketing push in January, offers social networking for parents - with 50 million households as potential users by 2010, according to research analysts at the Diffusion Group.

Cozi founders Robbie Cape and Jan Miksovsky (the pair behind Microsoft Money) figure the time is right for a digital command center that allows families to connect and share information the way MySpace users do.(MySpace's projected revenue this year: $350 million.)

GETTING COZI: Founders Jan Miksovsky and Robbie Cape (second and third from left, with Cozi comrades) want to play host to the family experience.

"Don't tell me there's this huge spread of technology throughout the home, and all I get is a better TV-watching, music-listening, and gaming experience," Cape says. "We saw this role for software applications for the entire family."

Cozi's calendar function sends out e-mail and text messages reminding family members that it's time to, say, clean their rooms. It's going into competition with the fridge full of Post-Its, in other words, and Cozi says large advertisers are lining up to buy ads targeted to each family's activities.

It's not a novel business model - but given the market size, it may be irresistible.

Senior writer Michael Copeland blogs about hot new startups at Dawn Patrol.


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