socializr2.jpgJonathan Abrams, the founder of path-breaking social networking company Friendster, has launched a test version of his new site, Socializr.

The site says it is “a free web service for sharing event and party information with your friends. Use Socializr to plan the ultimate social life!” It calls itself a “Web 3.1” company, and says its motto is “Don’t be boring.”

socializr.jpgIt is a closed test, so you won’t see much when you go there now. But Steve Poland, an Internet consultant in Austin, Tex. somehow got access to the wide-open public-side of the site, and gives a tepid initial review. He got in, he told us just now, by playing with the profiles (he added a “/1”, and got here, which, it turns out, is Abrams’ own profile — which we too got into to see). Steve was first to screen shots and everything, so it is worth going to his site and looking at his description of Socializr’s full monty.

It’s a very clean and simple design — looks like what MySpace looked like when it originally launched (before the mass customization by their users). The typical social networking features are included – friends list, comments on friends/events, event invites w/RSVPs, photo posting/sharing for users and events, and forums. Organizations can have their own webpage for posting events. (As of this writing I did not see any e-commerce capabilities for buying tickets to an event). There is a link to “IM this event”, but it doesn’t work (or possibly only works for logged in users) – so possibility of an IM system within this website. Events appear a bit customizable — I stumbled across one that had a Flash-based MP3 player streaming a Madonna song, and another event had a custom background image.

I must say that I’m not too impressed as of now, I would have thought that $1.5 million in 2 rounds of funding and many months of development would have produced something better upon any kind of launch. This is basically Evite with social networking (I still don’t understand how IAC doesn’t have a distributed social networking play to integrate within their network of websites).

Steve mentions, correctly, that MySpace and Friendster already have this sort of event functionality (in terms of the essential “Evite meets social networking” stuff). He says there’s nothing new. However, Socializr does seem to be taking it one-level deeper, to better adjust to the way we do things off-line. “Maybe there’s stuff we’re just not seeing,” he agreed. In this way, it reminds us of Renkoo, another Web 2.0-age event site.


Abrams & friends

Steve doesn’t mention Renkoo, which was co-founded by former Friendster engineer, Joyce Park — who was “fired” from Friendster for blogging about some of that site’s scaling problems. Now these two ex-Friendster folks may be going head to head in their latest ventures. Meanwhile, we’ve reached out to Socializr to get some information, and will update if/when we hear back. There are other sites, such as Mingle Now, which briefed us a few months ago, and is about to launch soon.

We’ve written Socializr before, and how it has $1.5 million in backing. Renkoo got $3 million in backing from Matrix Partners in March (scroll down)