The biggest German social networking platform StudiVZ for college students was reportedly bought by the publishing group Holtzbrinck. StudiVZ is a complete mock-up of Facebook (what is an interesting fact in itself – is copying a business model, design and idea really acceptable when we are talking 100m Euros?). See the StudiVZ blog for the official announcement.
Holtzbrinck already runs the popular dating platform Parship.de and with this acquisition they are extending their (potential) customer range to almost all age groups.
This is interesting in terms of research on online networks – and one of my earlier posts on the sustainablity of online ties – when students leave the phase in their life where they need to connect with other students, how are they going to maintain their ties? Will they delete their profiles/abandon the platform and are lost as customers to the platform providers? Holtzbrinck probably needs to think about an extension to cover the needs of their users beyond their college years (and aside from dating), something like openBC/Xing which might cover their professional needs.