Dame Dash Brings the "Block" to The Internet

 After seeing the success of social networking sites like MySpace, hip-hop hustler Damon Dash is backing his own site which will specifically cater to the urban market.

The site, blocksavvy.com, is a partnership between Dash and web designer Kwame DeCuir. It is said to combine the personal profiling options of similar sites like MySpace and Friendster but with an urban twist.

Consisting of different neighborhoods or "blocks," the site is designed to appeal to different demographic groups from fashion-conscious teens to sophisticated urbanites. Those who sign up on the site have the option to build a personal profile, decide where they want to live and pick a room on their respective block. Users are invited to join by a group of charter members who have populated the site since it started testing in October.

"We have the luxury of not having to commit the whole site," DeCuir explained. "Our architecture is open-ended, so we can build a block to suit any group or brand. Social networking is at its height right now. There are a lot of sites out there, but they all have a similar problem. There is a lot of traction and a lot of users, but it is a challenge to monetize those users."

The site, while it features a social component, is also aimed at brands, advertisers and sponsorships as well. Dash plans to have a virtual store for his Pro Keds brand on the site as well as additional exposure for his other business ventures.

"Blocksavvy is the best and most efficient way for brands and consumers alike to have a mutually beneficial experience online," said Dash.

Other brands and businesses also will be able to showcase and sell products to residents from photorealistic storefronts in a virtual shopping mall using "savvy dollars," the site's virtual currency that is redeemable for actual cash.

The site is also integrated with other social networks and third-party content providers like Flickr and YouTube in order to give users access to both widely popular and exclusive content.

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