I haven't seen this announced anywhere yet, so I thought I'd mention it. It appears that Hot or Not is taking on Myspace, by adding social networking features.
They've added a feature called a super profile, which despite its moniker is pretty basic. Here's what it contains: profile picture, friend list, guestbook, and a blog. Standard fare.
I could not find any search capability, but considering that Hot or Not's core feature has always been browsing users one at a time, I imagine moving to a search oriented site might not be in the cards.
The other feature that the Hot or Not super profile offers is a hotlist. No, not a list of the hottest Hot or Not users, *sigh*, but instead a space where you can added branded badges, i.e. a Gucci logo, or in my case, a Starbucks logo. The idea is that people can identify themselves by their brand affiliations. Just like in real life.
The guys over at Hot or Not have clearly been watching the viral growth of Tagged and Peerflix. They've adopted similar strategies. They provide a tool that allows you to connect your other social networks to Hot or Not. I assume this just sends out a mass of invites, because frankly I wasn't ready to take the leap of connecting all my social selves.
I'm still not sure what usefulness a Hot or Not social network is going to offer. Though I'm curious to find out. After all, Hot or Not's core benefit is that it gets people laid. If adding social networking to their core offering helps people get laid then it'll be a huge winner.
Of course, just like a typical social network, it's already being spammed by the webcam babe contigent. I got two messages today, both from girls who wanted me to check out their profile. Of course, their profile contained unsubtle come-ons to visit their private sites.
As Markus Frind, founder of Plentyoffish pointed out, social networks are the new dating sites. Hot or Not may have been feeling the crunch and decided to join the revolution rather than have their cake eaten. In any case, Jim and James are smart guys, it'll be interesting to watch how the new Hot or Not evolves.