Will 429 Ping Your Gaydar?

Social networking gets specific

Tim Williamson

You know Facebook, and you know LinkedIn.  Now, combine those two, target the gay community, and you have some idea what Dot429.com is trying to do.

if you're still scratching your head about the name, text G-A-Y on your cell phone. Dot429 is a soon-to-launch online community that wants to bring gay men and women together to network, both socially and professionally.  It will host both online events and blogs, while also bringing people together offline, through professional mixers and other events.

Now, you may be thinking that there are already plenty of places to meet and make business contacts already, whether you're gay or straight.  But Dot429's co-founder Don Spradlin says his site is also launching to fight back.  "For too many years in the professional world" he says, "GLBT people have faced discrimination. We want to band together to help each other overcome that discrimination." With that in mind, Dot429 will keep itself exclusive to the GLBT community.

It will also charge a membership fee.  Unlike most online social networks, Dot429 is betting that people will pay for their right to enter. For $15 a month, they'll get access to mentoring, networking events (both online and off), and dinners hosted to bring people with specific career interests together.

The site is launching now in San Francisco, and expects to roll out nationally in New York, Los Angeles, Miami Chicago by 2010.

If it works, Dot429 will likely mean more than just a good place for gay people to find their next career. It may also usher in a new phase of social networking, one that gets much more specific. Tired of hearing about the minutiae of your 4,876 friends' lives? Maybe a new social spot is what you're looking for. 

 Scott Budman covers business and technology for 622 news.

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