Tagged is a social discovery website based in San Francisco,
California, founded in 2004. It allows members to browse the profiles
of any other members, and share tags and virtual gifts. Tagged
claims it has 300 million members. As of September 2011, Quantcast
Tagged monthly unique users at 5.9 million in the United
States, and 18.6 million globally.
Michael Arrington wrote in April
Tagged is most notable for the ability to grow profitably
during the era of Facebook.
Tagged was criticized for sending deceptive bulk
email and paid $1.4 million in legal settlements regarding
those practices. The company has since adopted privacy reforms and
changed its invitation processes.
Owned by Ifwe, Inc., it is an
Inc. 500 company ranking #476 on the
2010 Inc. list of fastest-growing independent U.S. private
companies and #80 on Forbes' 2011 list of America's Most Promising
1.1 Deceptive bulk email
1.2 Aborted IPO, shift in focus
2.1 Mobile versions
2.2 Social games
3 Child safety
4 User demographics and site traffic
6 External links
Tagged Inc. was co-founded in mid-2004 by entrepreneurs
Greg Tseng and
Johann Schleier-Smith, who wanted to build a "Teen
Yahoo! or the next
MTV". The pair had formerly co-founded internet incubator
Jumpstart Technologies, which was later fined $900,000 for alleged
violations of the CAN-SPAM Act, then the largest-ever penalty for
In September 2005 the company raised $1.5 million in angel investor
funding and three months later raised an additional $7 million from
Mayfield Fund, a venture capital firm.
Originally an under-18 site,
Tagged allowed users of any age to join
from October 2006.
In March 2008,
Microsoft announced a commercial partnership with
social networking sites Tagged, Facebook, LinkedIn, Bebo, and hi5
regarding email contacts APIs, which has since been
implemented. Other past and current
Tagged partnerships have
included Slide, RockYou, PhotoBucket, Meebo, Razz, and
Jangl. In February 2009, following complaints from the public
Tagged was blocked in
Qatar by the only ISP, Qtel, due to
inappropriate content that Qtel could not selectively filter.
Tagged.com had been one of the top ten most visited sites in
In January 2010,
Tagged announced that it was donating $50,000 to the
Yéle Haiti Earthquake Fund, partly stemming from user donations.
In the same month,
Tagged won a $200,000 judgment against Erik
Voegler, who was spamming other
In May 2010,
Tagged was named in Lead411's "2010 Hottest San Francisco
Companies", a list of the fastest-growing companies in the software,
wireless, internet, and media industries, and in October 2010,
Tagged ranked #100 on Deloitte's list of the top 500 fastest growing
technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences and clean
technology companies in North America.
In April 2011,
Tagged acquired Digsby, a multi-protocol instant
messenger and social network notification client for
Windows with 3
million registered users.
As of October 2011,
Tagged had 150 employees, an increase from 55
employees at the beginning of 2011. CEO
Greg Tseng continues to
interview employees, cater lunch and dinner, and hold office-wide
meetings every Friday.
Tagged is a member of the Social Media
Advertising Consortium, a trade industry association that aims to
increase advertising revenue and to facilitate collaboration among
social networking sites, advertisers, and marketing researchers.
In September 2011,
Tagged made a second acquisition, the gaming
In November 2011,
Tagged was named to the
Forbes list of "America's
Most Promising Companies".
In December 2011,
Hi5 Networks Inc., which was once
the third-largest social network behind
Facebook and MySpace. The
deal, whose terms were not disclosed, added Hi5's 230 million
members to Tagged's base of 100 million registered users.
Also in December 2011,
Tagged acquired Topicmarks, a natural language
processing and machine learning company.
Deceptive bulk email
Badoo § Deceptive bulk email
Between April and June 2009,
Tagged sent tens of millions of
misleading spam emails like this one, which falsely stated that a
contact sent photographs to the recipient.
In June 2009, Time magazine columnist Sean Gregory called
world's most annoying website".
Tagged asked users for their email
username and password, retrieved email addresses from their address
books, and repeatedly sent email invitations to people who were not
registered on Tagged, falsely stating that they have been "added as a
friend" or that the inviter had sent them photos on Tagged. This
process has been labelled an "e-mail scam" by consumer anti-fraud
advocates and drawn criticism in the technology press
and from users. The emails were discussed as possible spam by
Black Web 2.0 and the resemblance to a virus was noted by urban
legend site Snopes.com. The
New York Times
New York Times referred to the
practice as "contact scraping".
In July 2009 New York State
Andrew Cuomo announced
his intention to sue
Tagged for "deceptive email marketing and
invasion of privacy".
Tagged reached a settlement in which it
agreed to pay $500,000 and to modify its promotional practices.
Tagged settled an enforcement action by the state of
Texas, agreeing to pay $250,000 in penalties and fees. Conditions of
the settlement included "clear and conspicuous" disclosure of the use
of information in the user's email address book, providing a clear
method to skip the step and display to users the specific emails to be
Tagged has adopted these reforms and changed its invitation
In February 2010,
Tagged settled a class action lawsuit about its
former registration process with
California residents Miriam Slater
and Sara Golden and awarded them $10,000 each.
Tagged also agreed
to destroy email addresses that were collected from users between
April and June 2009, if those users did not mean to invite their
contacts to the site.
In April 2010,
San Francisco District Attorney
Kamala Harris announced
Tagged agreed to pay $650,000 to settle claims of deceptive
emails. This settlement related to emails sent from April 2009
through June 2009.
Aborted IPO, shift in focus
In October 2014,
Tagged aborted plans to perform an initial public
offering, citing decreased revenue due to the proliferation of mobile
devices. On October 16, 2014,
Tagged performed a number of changes at
the corporate level, including acquiring the social messaging startup
Tinode and naming its co-founders, Dash Gopinath and Gene Sokolov, to
the positions of chief product officer and senior vice president of
Tagged also announced that its parent
company would be re-named Ifwe, Inc. (stylized If(we), and that the
company overall would focus on becoming an incubator for new mobile
software, although it will continue to run
Tagged and Hi5.
After registering a free account,
Tagged users can customize their
profile page, to which they can post a biography about themselves and
their interests, post status updates, upload photos, and send and
receive messages. There is also an option to upgrade the membership
for a monthly fee, which allows users to see which other users have
recently viewed their profile, among other additional features. They
can also sort videos by most viewed, top rated, and most liked, and
send virtual gifts to their friends. Virtual gifts are bought with
"gold" which users buy with actual money or receive by completing
special offers or tasks. There are chat rooms where users engage in
real time online chat according to their age and mood. Designed to
facilitate relationships and dating,
Tagged allows users to send and
receive notifications for "Luv", "Winks", and "Meet Me", a rating
engine that allows users to rate the attractiveness of photos
submitted by others. On October 30, 2009,
Tagged announced a simpler
Tagged developed a mobile version of its site in April 2011, making
Tagged more usable by smartphones with a mobile internet browser. This
version allows users to send and receive friend requests, play games,
and send messages. This mobile version also offers location-based,
real-time chat for users.
Tagged began offering an iPhone
application from July 2010, which was downloaded more than 100,000
times in its first week. Tagged's Android application became
available in March 2011. By April 2011, the Android versions, had
slightly more users than on the iPhone application, and in May
2011 it was the number three social networking application on the
Android. In the latest update of their iOS and Android Apps,
Tagged has added the capability of refreshing data by using the
"pulling down" gesture and loading more data by using the "pulling up"
gesture. In June 2011
Tagged launched its first BlackBerry
application. Being a native application, it runs on a mixture of
HTML and the device systems.
Social games on
Tagged differ from those on other social networking
services, because players are encouraged to make new friends through
the games. In May 2010,
Tagged opened its own in-house gaming
division. Leading the division is Andrew Pedersen, former vice
president of the Pogo division of Electronic Arts.
Tagged plans to
create more social games, several of which are already in
development. Together with its acquisition of Digsby, Tagged's
focus on social games signals an attempt to add more social
communication options to its platform.
Launched in 2008, Pets was Tagged's first game and, as of May 2011,
remains the most popular. Similar to a fantasy sports league,
players use virtual cash to "buy" others and own them like pets, then
barter them with other players or sell at a set price. Virtual cash
can be earned by players in several ways, such as frequently logging
into Tagged, converting
Tagged gold at the Pets Cash Bar into Pets
Cash and using real money.
Farm was introduced in May 2011. Unlike Zynga's
Farmville on Facebook,
there is no animation or farmer. Advancement is based on virtual money
earned by harvesting plants and animals in the game. Other past
Zynga games such as Mafia Wars & Poker
and Crowdstar's Happy Aquarium.
Initially targeted at U.S. teens,
Tagged opened to users worldwide
aged 13 and older in October 2006 and still maintains security
measures for users under 18. Users over 16 and the public cannot
view the profiles of 13- and 14-year-olds, and profiles for 15- and
16-year-olds are private to the public and to users over 18. The only
way to add teens as friends is by knowing the email address or
surnames to request the friendship, and the younger user must accept
the friendship request.
However, the security measures are not entirely successful. In
February 2009, a high school teacher was arrested after having sex
with a 14-year-old girl he had met on Tagged. The 32-year-old teacher,
who was not listed on either state or national sex offender websites,
had over 100 female friends below the age of 17.
In December 2009 New York State
Attorney General Andrew Cuomo
Tagged and 13 other social networking sites agreed to
remove registered sex offenders under the New York Electronic Securing
and Targeting of Online Predators Act. Nevertheless, a 2010
undercover investigation by Cuomo's office claimed that graphic images
of children being sexually abused were readily accessible on
Tagged. Investigators registered accounts at
Tagged and reported
inappropriate content to
Tagged administrators following procedures
described on the site. They found "significant lapses" in Tagged's
response to these reports. At a news conference, Cuomo referred to
Tagged as "one of the worst social networking sites that we've
As of February 20, 2014, users must be at least 18 years old to have
an account on Tagged.
On April 6, 2017, Washington D.C. police officer Chukwuemeka Ekwonna
was arrested for allegedly meeting a 15 year old girl through Tagged,
paying her for sex, then robbing her at gunpoint.
User demographics and site traffic
As of April 2011[update], Alexa rankings suggest the popularity
Tagged peaked in early 2009 and has been declining since. Each
Tagged is visited by 5.9 million American users and 18.6 million
Hitwise data shows that between December 2008 and
Facebook drove category growth, and the only other site
to grow in market share during that period was Tagged, which increased
its share by 35%. In September 2009,
Tagged had a 2.38% share of
the social networking site market in the United States based on
Though originally a teen-only site,
Tagged now has more members in the
35- to 49-year-old group than in any other; teens in the United States
now account for 10% of its members. Sixty-four percent of users earn
under $60,000 per year and 60% have less than a college education.
In the United States, users of
Tagged are more likely than Internet
users in general to be female or African American.
Eighty percent of
Tagged users also use Facebook. According to
ComScore December 2009 data, users spent two minutes longer on average
Facebook users do on Facebook.
In May 2010,
ComScore reported that
Tagged entered the top 10 U.S.
Online Display Ad Publishers for the first time. Tagged.com was ranked
at number 10 with a 0.6% share of the total market, having served 6.8
billion ads in the United States in the first quarter 2010.
In September 2010,
Tagged surpassed 100 million registered members of
which one quarter to one third are active monthly. Revenue grew to
over $30 million, and 2011 revenue was predicted by Tseng to be over
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