Aimfight.com was posted at Slashdot today. The site is a simple incarnation of social networking visualization, and represents another emergence of this untapped field. Compared to the extensive amounts of web research, social networking isn’t nearly as explored, likely because the two markets are thoroughly different.
In the world of Internet-life, email represents real mail, where friends’ messages and junk mail both arrive in your inbox. The web is harder to model, but suffice it to say that Amazon and eBay are like physical stores, just with exceedingly large stockrooms. Chatting, therefore, is most similar to a telephone conversation. It’s between two people, and you can’t just call anyone without knowing their screenname/phone number first.
This inherent privacy is largely the reason social networking is still so unexplored. It’s a tough sell to ask people for their buddy list for “research,” just like its hard to get a copy of someone’s address book – for “research” or not. Imagine a future where Amazon customer representatives send you IMs like telemarketers. Spam has no place in the chat room’s hallowed walls!
Aimfight.com gives each screenname a score based upon how many other people have the screenname on their buddylist. I was wondering how the developers managed to acquire up to date copies of every AIM users’s buddy list, assuming that this site is unaffiliated with AOL. It has that independent web project feel. Although the site neglects to mention it, the site was created by two software engineers at AOL.