Nielsen Makes Hey, Plans To Shut It Down: Replacing Social Network With New Consumer Site

From time to time, Nielsen plays a role in canceling networks. Now it is canceling one of its own. In a notice sent to subscribers this week, the media ratings giant said it will begin "winding down" Hey! Nielsen, an online social network launched more than a year ago, and will replace it with a new, as-yet-unnamed "consumer site."

"We thank you for sharing your passionate opinions with us over the last year," the notice reads. "Your feedback was not only insightful, but also a valuable component in several research projects at Nielsen."

Nielsen offered no explanation for pulling the plug on Hey Nielsen, but replied to several queries posted on the Hey! Nielsen Blog inquiring why with the cryptic response: "The site in its current form will go offline in the next few days."

Asked by one member, screen-named Cookieduster, if the members of Hey! Nielsen who selflessly volunteered their own personal information, preferences and insights for more than a year weren't "owed a summary report of how our input was used (what research projects and for whom?) and what it might have meant," Nielsen replied curtly, "We cannot share any client details as this info is confidential. Your feedback has been very useful and we appreciate your participation."



Hey! Nielsen was always a bit of an odd duck. The project was hatched not by Nielsen's regular research or product development teams, but by its communications department, which initially saw it as a way to gauge feedback about Nielsen products and services, as well as a means to spread word about the Nielsen brand virally. They also saw it as a mechanism to learn about the world of social networking first-hand, and ultimately as a new product or service for gathering, analyzing and reporting media research.

The site was launched in beta form in the summer of 2007 among a small group of Nielsen employees and certain industry insiders. In January 2008, concurrent with the kick-off of Super Bowl XLII, Hey! Nielsen was activated as a commercialized research service. It's initial project, not surprisingly, was a humongous online focus group rating the TV ads breaking in the Big Game. At that time, Hey! Nielsen boasted 43,109 members, comprised mainly of media and entertainment enthusiasts. As Nielsen prepares to shut the network down, it currently has 175,610 Hey! Nielsen members who discuss their views and "rank" a cross-section of media and entertainment properties ranging from TV shows and movies to popular music.

Among TV shows, Hey! Nielsen currently rank "Moonlight" No. 1, followed by "Pushing Daisies," "Blood Ties," "Stargate Atlantis," and "True Blood."

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