Linkerly, a social network without “social junk”

Let’s face it. Only about 25% of the content on your Facebook timeline is composed of links to interesting, informative, or entertaining content, 20 % is depressing statuses, 18% is baby pictures, 17% is cute cats, 15% is selfies, and the rest is meaningful updates from friends that you want to see and boring brand advertisements. (*Figures are an estimate from this writer’s newsfeed.)

The point is there is a lot of content that we see every day that we don’t care about, and Dunedin-based startup Linkerly agrees with you, calling this “social junk.”

Linkerly was created by four Otago University students, Geordi Dearns, Nick Cleaver, Ben Wigley, and Rebekah McNutt.

The Linkerly social network aims to avoid the huge amount of social junk we encounter on a daily basis by providing a platform for posting and consuming only the most relevant and interesting links, while preserving a social environment.

“We wanted to dilute the amount of irrelevant social feed ‘spam’ we are being exposed to daily,” Geordie said. “We all love music, a great video, an article, or something that may inspire or intrigue the users. We want to create a place where this type of content is easily accessible, and related to your interests at the click of a button.”

Linkerly has been developed entirely in-house, with each startup founder lending their expertise to help build the product. Ben Wigley, Linkerly’s director and main developer, has had a year’s experience with the company AVOS, and has been the driving force behind getting Linkerly to the users, while continuing to develop and improve the functionality and ease of use of the website. Rebekah McNutt uses her design qualification to improve the visual aspects of Linkerly (she’s done a bloody good job!). Nick Cleaver and Geordi Dearns have developed the user interface, but primarily work in the strategy, operations and marketing aspects of the project.

Like most startups, not everything has been smooth sailing, Geordi says, and the company has found gaining an advantage over competitors most challenging.

“We have overcome this through trying to create new ways for users to engage with and share content within our site,” he said. Linkerly is “also looking into external avenues such as implementing a bookmarklet that allows the user to share to our site whilst browsing any page across the web.”

The network will soon launch a Chrome extension, which will allow users to share a link to any website at the click of a button. “The next round of features will be released within the next two weeks,” said Geordie, “and aim to make categories easily accessible and personalised to the users interests.”

Linkerly plans to monetise its service at a later date by offering brands the opportunity to sponsor links. The promoted links will appear in a separate category on the home page.

“Only people who have paid to have their posts placed on the sponsored page will be placed there,” Geordie said, adding that a gamified element is being researched to potentially increase revenue.

“With our integration with Facebook, Twitter, Google+ etc., data-mining will be an option once we establish a solid user-base and content.”

For now, Linkerly’s four founders are focusing solely on making as much headway as they can in terms of both product and user-base.

“Eventually we want Linkerly to become the most popular site in the world when it comes to consuming content,” said Geordi.

“Our social good through Linkerly will be allowing the world to educate itself in a fun and interactive way.”

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