Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Social Network For The Disabled


There are more than 50 million adults with disabilities in the United States alone, but so far, as a specific market, they’ve been largely unrecognized and underserved. Disaboom, which just launched last month, aims to change all that with a social network aimed specifically at consumers whose lives have been touched by disabilities.

Disaboom was founded by J. Glen House, who graduated from medical school after a skiing accident left him quadriplegic at the age of 20. Its mission is to develop the first interactive online community dedicated to improving the lives of people with disabilities or functional limitations. In so doing, it aims to serve not just those who have disabilities themselves but also caregivers and families.

The Denver-based site brings together content and tools ranging from specialized health information to social networking to daily living resources, including medical news, career advice, dating resources and travel tips. Ford, Netflix and Johnson & Johnson are among the advertisers that have enthusiastically flocked to the site, which also features video, chat and city-by-city accessibility reviews. Disaboom recently acquired Lovebyrd—a dating site for disabled singles—and just before launch it raised more than USD 5 million in a common stock offering. The site already boasts a network of more than 180 million people.

As populations age throughout the industrialized world, the number of people with disabilities of one sort or another will only increase—and so, too, will their collective spending power. Marketers, take note!

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