The Behance network which comprises of a community for creative people, a productivity application, a line of products for said productivity application, an event, an advisory service and few other things in between seem to be making big inroads into the creative market.
I stumbled upon the network a few times over the last year but it wasn't until I was doing research for a post on Sleevage that a lot of the artists I looked up were on Behance. For example the designer of the latest Portishead album Marc B uses it as his porfolio. He has his own websites too but the last two I looked up also had a Behance portfolio.
You can see why it's so appealing to designers. It's free, it's invite only so the quality is high and it looks great. Most designers don't have the skills or the budget to produce a portfolio site of their own so being on network where you can show off your work easily and for free is perfect.
Just as I've noticed an increase in Behance I've also seen a huge increase in Vimeo videos embedded and link to from sites in the last 6 months as people want to present their video content as best they can. While Youtube has the mass number Vimeo has much better quality content. It has become the pseudo portfolio dumping ground for motion and 3D animators.
Vimeo is more likely to "go viral" than Behance so that's seen by the traffic reach stats from Alexa. Interesting, Vimeo stats have increased lately even though Youtube has offered HD and a better UI. Things which Vimeo had long ago. I guess its now coming down to content. It's harder to find good content on Youtube these days. Although it stil is THE place to search for video.
Facebook gets all the attention however it's interesting to see these other specialized networks pop up and get some traction. This focused audience is also much more attractive to advertisers.
I noticed this promotion from RG/A with them looking for;
"projects that represent how you think we'll use mobile devices to experience music in the future, and we'll award one lucky winner $2500."
There's not that many entries right now but it's not different than most "submit content" competitions. The entries that are there are all of a high quality though.
Is anyone from RG/A willing to give a reason/inspiration for this competition? Is it to help the agency come up with ideas for clients or to find new talent to recruit?
Anyone looking for a network of music creators can check out Newgrounds Audio portal which is chock full of great audio content. A little less chock if you don't like metal.
Behance have also partnered with Cool Hunting to put together a conference The 99 percent Conference. There is no info on speakers or anything and it's 3 months away so hopefully more info is coming soon. But they will be sourcing sponsors and booth options right now I would assume. This looks to be similar to the Australian based Semi Permanent conference which has been run successfully for many years.
I think it's important to look outside the mainstream social networks and communities to find the people you want to talk to. Sometimes this means engaging people across multiple networks rather than just one. The numbers might be smaller but the audience is more targeted and usually more vocal and loyal. And you probably have more options to connect with them.
The problem I see is that the smaller networks require more work. They don't have a sales team, they don't have standards so this requires more work. And as a lot of these type of deals are done at a media level I can't see your average media person putting the effort in. And as these networks don't show up on any traffic reports they probably don't even know about them. It's up to the talented people out there to spot them and to the open minded clients to try something different.
We all love how the web allows you to target niche audiences but then we all rush to Facebook, as we did Myspace because of the sheer volume of people. Sure you can target by contextual ads but your not reaching the true niche audience.
I look forward to 2009 being the year we step away from mainstream and go niche.