SOAP Market

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Our intial market is college students at Brown and RISD, but since the site has two functions there are two kinds of ideal users. The first kind are users who submit work to the site. These users would include artists of all media at these schools who create and / or display their work digitally. The other kind of user is one who visit the site to view other students' work. This could be any student on either campus, but is most likely to be an artistically and technologically inclined student.

The Brown undergraduate community is approximately 6,000 people and the RISD community is approximately 2,200. Out of the 6,000 Brown students, we estimate that around 10% produce relevant material and then out of these people, we estimate that 10% would submit to our site. Therefore, we expect approximately 60 Brown students. We believe that 75% of RISD students produce relevant material, and out of these people, we estimate that 10% would submit, making 165 students. As a starting point for our market research, we attempted to answer the questions of what problems the project solves and how it solves them, and who does it serve. We looked at websites that are under the following categories of Social Networks, art communities, video sharing, podcasting and traditional media sharing.

Uspot.com currently offers its users to ability to share video, photos, and audio. It also has a social networking function that is not limited to college students but is geared towards them. It allows student users to connect to their fellow students on their campus, giving the site a local as well as a global feel.

Friendster.com is a social networking site where registered users create a profile and interact with other registered users. It provides media sharing features, but there are too many features that are not necessarily widely used. Their market is extremely wide and not specific to one group.

Facebook.com is another social networking site, where registered users are only high school and college students. Although it does not offer advanced media features, only photo uploading service provided, it does have a very focused community usership. Also the facebook.com is limited to college and highschool kids, but still it has a relatively large usership.

Rhizome.org is an online art community that is specific to new media art. It is archival but it is not organized in a portfolio manner. The quality of work is ensured through a submission process. Because of this, Rhizome seems to be geared towards a more academic, and therefore limited, crowd.

DeviantArt.com is an online art community where any user can post content. As a result this website may be considered more kitsch than Rhizome. It hosts a wide range of media, including traditional as well as digital media. However, it is mostly used for sharing and downloading desktop modifications. There is a mild social networking aspects through forums and members chatting. These features give Deviantart.com a broader appeal than a site such as Rhizome.org.

Google video provides a database of member-uploaded video content. Content is organized and searchable but there is no sense of community or user identity. Content is reviewed by a governing body before it is posted to the site. It is not at all art oriented and all content is public. The site is so vast that it is unclear what the market is, but given the abundance of immature humor on the site, it is slightly geared towards a younger audience.

Dropbox.com is video uploading service where content is kept private for the user and content is only shared by invitation. It also boasts an easy uploading interface, which implies that it is aimed at an older market that is less familiar with computers.

Ourmedia.com is a media sharing hub like uspot.com, but appears to be geared more towards the publishing user rather than viewing user. Although it is oriented towards the producing viewer, it does not go as far as to define itself as an art community.

Purevolume.com is a premiere site for free music downloading. Any user can upload content for download and users can create their own streaming source of music from various artists. Availability for download is at artists' discretion. There are many search features for organizing the content.

We like the versatility of media that uspot.com provides and that it has social networking functions that are geared towards college students, but seek to establish a more artistic community. We feel that one way to achieve this is to limit the scope of the site. That is, Uspot.com can be used by non-college users and therefore is flooded with commercial content. We feel that one step to limiting the presence of this commercial content in favor of artistically focused content is to limit the size of the submitting usership. This will not solve the problem entirely but may begin to because with a smaller group comes greater accountability.

Friendster.com unites media sharing and social networking but like uspot.com we believe it does so on too big a scale to serve our purposes. Thefacebook.com provides a much better model, but the service does not have a developed media sharing program. To date it has image and text sharing capabilities but both are structured to be used in a social rather than artistic capacity.

Rhizome.org provides an interesting model for ensuring the quality of the work on the site. Whereas Rhizome.org seems to be more focused on the work rather than the artist, our service will be structured around portfolio's for users who submit. This way our site will become a tool not only for art viewers but artists as well. Deviantart.com is not limited to college students and therefore can be considered unfocused. It does however provide a model for traditional art sharing.

Googlevideo seems to have established a clear system for sharing video content specifically, but like uspot.com its audience is very broad and unlike uspot.com it doesn't have any social networking features. Though we seek to have many of the organizing features of the content on googlevideo, we feel our artists' portfolios will create a sense of identity and community which are absent on the sire.

Dropbox.com provides a model of private media sharing, but also shows that a solely private system gives the user little reason to go to the site. Users only go to their own private sites or are referred to other user's site by those users. By allowing content to be made private by the submitting users we hope to be able to combine the advantages of a private system with the advantages of a public system which would include a sense of centrality as well as community through the site.

We found ourmedia.com to be unique because unlike other media sharing sites like uspot.com its front page was equally focused on users who go to upload content as well as users who go to view content. In this way the site is geared more towards the uploader or in our case "artist", which is something we hope to build on. Ourmedia.com however is not specifically artistically focused.

Purevolume.com provides an interesting model for audio sharing because it allows any user to submit work and make that work available for download at the user's discretion. It does seem more geared to musical audio projects where our site would be more broadly focused.

As a result of our market research, we believe that our website would fulfill the unmet need of students not having an online platform to display their artwork and exchange feedback to each other, forming a community that is specifically served for college students and later the wider community of interest, such as perspective college students, graduate professors and even curators. Throughout our market research process, we have not found any similar websites that provides such a service that allows students to create an online art portfolio or a website that is art specific aiming towards primarily a college students audience. This supports our idea of providing such a service that is currently a niche in the market.

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