Kiwibox.com, an online magazine aimed at teenagers, is a remnant of the dot-com days. Unheralded and mostly undifferentiated, it launched in 1999 and somehow managed to slog its way through the bubble’s pop. In August, it relaunched with a social networking component and has just raised a low-seven figure round from a public company called Magnitude Information Systems.
Given that most teens are just fine with MySpace and Facebook and that myYearbook, a teen-oriented social network, has lots of momentum and cash, investing in a tiny social network site would seem like a crazy move.
The magnitude of Magnitude’s apparent insanity may be explained by a quick glance at its website, followed by a look at its stock performance. The former, which appears not to have been updated since 2006, states that the company’s vision is “to enable people of all ages to be the best they can be while using their computers productively and safely in the workplace, home, and school settings,” but it’s almost impossible to find out what this means on the site (it sold an “ergonomic software system”). Its stock hit a peak of $4 per share in 1999 but has traded below $1 since the end of 2001. Getting behind Kiwibox may be Magnitude’s last, best hope.
Kiwibox’s site is marginally passable, though it looks like it could built on a social network builder like KickApps without excessive effort. It features original content spanning the universe of teen concerns (music, entertainment, fashion and love life). I learned, for example, that it would be a fashion disaster to put my cell phone in a Croc Cell Phone Holder or sweater knit case (damn), and that dumping someone by text message is not something I should do. I also got to play some Space Invaders and a rip-off of Tetris imaginatively named KiwiBlox.
The company is based in New York.