It’s a little harsh on the eye and could do with an interface makeover but Don’t Stay In could well be the biggest UK-based social network you’ve never heard of. That said, you have probably heard of it if you like going clubbing and having your photo taken by DSI “spotters”, because as its publicly available traffic page shows, it’s clocking up some good numbers. After four years of organic growth it now has over 350,000 users (but is signing up about 10k a month), is clocking 30m page impressions per month and has over 13,000 members logging-in and uploading photos over the course of a day. As the comments on this Trendcatching post attest, Don’t Stay In has passionate users, cultural relevance and real community – the kind a lot of Web2 companies would kill for. The business model is based on selling advertising and tickets. Clubbers can build a profile on the site and interact with other clubbers and content. Promoters get a digital platform for promoting events.
The fact that it has scaled to multiple countries (albeit all in English) shows ambition on the part of its three young founders, Dave, Tim and John (and their 15 staff). It even turns out that in 2005 Channel 4 made an entire half hour show about the site, an MPG of which is available here. I also ran a comparison of the site against some more recent competitors like Trusted Places, WeHangHere, and even the better funded Qype, and Don’t Stay In beats all of them (see below). My initial impression is that this could be a potential acquisition or investment which could be taken to the next level.