The power of the selfie is undeniable. Oxford Dictionaries declared “selfie” as the word of 2013.
That kind of verbal takeover helped prompt the creation of social network On.com, whose simple web and mobile platform is entirely based on, well, selfies.
Since launching two years ago, the startup has gained 800,000 users, mostly in the 18- to 25-year-old age range. Ninety percent of them access On.com through its iOS or Android app, where they can upload selfies and like and comment on others’. So far, users have added 3 million selfies to the site.
Women make up 40 percent of its largely U.S. user base, according to Chief Technology Officer Kevin Deegan. That kind of ratio is pretty impressive considering that social and dating sites often struggle with drawing in the same number of women users as they do men. Part of it probably has to do with how much attention women get on the picture-first platform. On average, women on On.com receive six times the number of likes on their selfies as their male counterparts do.
The site emphasizes appearances and not much else. On.com’s platform includes features such as private messaging and status updates, but a profile is limited to just first names, locations and a gallery of selfies liked by other users.
It’s a quick engagement of the “hot or not” persuasion that could be seen as superficial. But Deegan said selfies these days are how people evaluate who they want to interact with.
“I think it’s an antiquated notion that selfies are shallow,” he said. “It’s like meeting someone at a bar. You show up, wear nice clothes and say hi. That’s pretty much a selfie.”
Deegan declined to disclose the size of On.com’s funding and its private investors.
The company, whose operations are split between Venice and Miami, expects to top 1 million users before the end of the year.