Geni.com: A really expensive piece of gum

Several weeks ago a new "social network for the family" called Geni, made the headlines with a big time valuation of $100M. Pundits are going back and forth on whether Geni’s valuation is reasonable or gonzo.

I could not help but investigate so I jumped into Geni and began playing around.

I found Geni to be like a piece of gum. It tasted great at first, but quickly wore off. I successfully got about 50% of my immediate family to join Geni. Working together we quickly built out our family tree, but now what?

Are we supposed to network with each other? They are my family — the market segment I least need to network with. I don’t get it and my family doesn’t either. We used Geni for about a month and I haven’t seen any activity on it since.

Despite my efforts to engage my whole family on Geni, the network isn’t growing that fast. Compete only saw 42K US visitors in March, which translates the recent investment to about $2,380/vistor.

However, people are spending quite a bit of time on the site. Although time/visitor has trended down from January, people are still spending over 20 minutes per month on the site.

So, why is this piece of gum worth $100M?

  1. It really is an engaging site for the first few visits and the viral nature of the offering successfully converted half of my family. From a marketing perspective Geni is brilliant — loyalty is the real challenge.
  2. Geni has the potential to be a viable social commerce platform. If Geni can connect and communicate with an entire family, Geni can position itself as the one-stop resource to manage family affairs.
    "¢ Holiday Gift Lists? Check Geni
    "¢ Family Reunion Planning? Check Geni
    "¢ New Kid — Wanna see the pics? Check Geni
    "¢ Birthdays? Check Geni
    "¢ Blood Type Matches? Check Geni

If I was the CMO at Geni I would establish the following tag line: "Geni, putting the function back in to dysfunctional families". My Mom would love it!

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