Skinbook is a popular online social network created specifically for people involved in the nudist and/or naturist lifestyle. Skinbook's creators claim to have launched the site in reaction to the lack of quality websites available which enable social interaction between people in the nudist community.
The site currently contains all the features you'd expect on a social network including comprehensive member profiles, photo/video uploading, blog posting, group creation, events promotion, profile gadgets and a live chat room.
Skinbook was originally launched as an online forum in May 2008 and over the following 3 months grew its membership to around 250 regular users from around 9 countries. The original format was extremely basic; having just one chat room available to its users. Although this sounds very limiting, it kept the site looking busy and encouraged continued regular use by it's members. Seeing the potential for a more complex and larger scale version of this concept the forum was closed on the 10th September 2008 and relaunched 5 days later as a social network using the Ning platform.
|Skinbooks original logo|
Skinbook started it's life as a cloned version of facebook (hence the name) copying both the typeface and color scheme that facebook itself adopts. Due to quickly accelorating membership, on the 7th October 2008 Skinbook declared itself:
"A social network in our own right, no longer feeling the need to try and to ride the wave of the mainstream players…"
It was subsequently revamped with the new logo, colour scheme and font-type you see on the site today.
One of the reasons Skinbook has managed to gain credibility very quickly is due insistence upon keeping the site aimed at ''genuine'' nudists and naturists. One of the big criticisms for a lot of nudist websites (particularly ones involving interaction between it's members) is their tendancy to degenerate in to realms of sexual exchange between a lot of non-nudist members who tend to sign-up. The suspected reason for this is speculated to be that because nudism constitutes such a niche market, the owners of these websites (although they may have set out with the best intentions) either grow impatient of the slow growth of their site as a strictly nudist medium and/or succumb to the temptation for faster growth by allowing adult content to saturate the site.
The majority of the moderation responsibilities of Skinbook have been handed over to the users themselves, encouraged by the administrators to report any "inappropriate" content which is then followed up by the administrators. Because every member is themselves a moderator this ensures that not only is the site constantly steered in the right direction by the genuine members (who are the overwhelming majority), but that because of Skinbooks international membership, there is usually a "moderator" present on the site 24 hrs a day.
Due to the above moderation poilicy Skinbook claims to be able to catch abusers of the site within hours of them signing up. It is estimated that 1 in every 10 sign-ups results in a ban being issued.
Little is known of the creator behind the site other than what is noted in the sites "Admin" profile which states…
"Skinbook" is a Global Nudist Networking Project set-up and run by a tiny group of friends from Manchester in the UK."
The only criticisms faced by Skinbook stem from it's affiliation with the Ning platform; the main complaints being that Skinbook is hosted on a "Ning" subdomain (i.e. www.skinbook.ning.com) and that when you first enter the site you are encountered by an "Adult Content" warning which some users feel misrepresents not only the content of the site but the nudist lifestyle itself. Both of these elements are unavoidable due to the fact that the domain name "skinbook" is, in the mojority of cases, already taken and that the adult warning page is a compulsary measure on all Ning networks containing images of nudity.