Who are the best social media shops in NYC?
September 15, 2008 9:41 AM   Subscribe

If I want to create a high-end social media website, and I want it to be built (designed and coded) by a reputable shop in the NYC area, who are my best potential partners, and is there some kind of directory or forum on which I can find a list? I'm talking real professional stuff that involves projects over $100k. I'm not talking just a website, but choosing (or building) a CMS, having an understanding of the social media space, being able to do original design work and custom functionality, understanding user experience, and creating/customizing blogs, forums, downloads, voting, and other such stuff. Please... I know how to google. I am looking for either specific recommendations for partners, or places to look or post queries or RFPs. Thanks!
posted by bingo to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Chopping Block has a horrible website but is very competent.

Happy Cog (headed by the Jeffery Zeldman) would also be great, seeing as how they worked on Ma.gnolia.
posted by jedrek at 9:50 AM on September 15, 2008

I recommend Behavior Design, run by my friend Chris Fahey. His co-founder was Khoi Vinh, who is now the online design director at the NY Times and runs the fantastic blog called Subtraction.com.

That said, you don't need to spend $100K on a web site. I've built sites like what you want for quite a bit less, mostly by myself with some hired freelancers filling in the custom programming/functionality gaps. I regularly consult with companies under my consultancy called BlogCorp, Inc. I think the project you want to develop is larger than I can handle on my own, but I have a lot of experience others don't. I'd be happy to answer any specific questions you might have.

Disclaimer: I currently work full-time for a private, invite-only, online social network.
posted by camworld at 10:01 AM on September 15, 2008

Do not use Chopping Block; they were a vendor at one of my old jobs and missed the launch schedule by a long shot, despite repeated assurances that everything was on track. MeFiMail me if you want details.
posted by Asparagirl at 1:08 PM on September 15, 2008

I think HUGE, Inc. in Brooklyn is doing the sort of thing you are looking for.
posted by ml98tu at 1:09 PM on September 15, 2008

I work in this industry in NYC with a variety of firms, building large web projects similar to what you're describing. Some companies I've worked with that do the sort of thing you're looking for, and work in the $100-500K project range include Ruder Finn (focus on strategy, usability, and social media), Concentric Studio, Big Spaceship (mainly entertainment sites and Flash games) and Deep Focus. A lot of my friends have worked with Funny Garbage or HUGE. One of my clients had a recent bad experience with Digital Pulp, so I would hesitate to recommend them. Some of the larger and more famous companies like Happy Cog, Icon Nicholson, and R/GA won't talk to you unless your budget is $500K-$1 million or higher. As far as getting additional recommendations for companies or getting feedback on your RFP, you can sign up for the nextny list or the webproducers list.
posted by lsemel at 2:34 PM on September 15, 2008

I should add that if your project is for a startup, rather than for an established company, you may want to avoid working with a large web design company. In these firms, the processes and teams are more geared toward dealing with larger companies than with entrepreneurs. You don't want to have to deal with rounds of approvals, reviews and change orders, and it may be difficult to generate a fixed scope for your project. I'd be happy to talk to you more and answer any questions you have about finding the right company, your RFP, or the technology side of the project.
posted by lsemel at 2:43 PM on September 15, 2008

I work with the team at Six Apart Services, formerly Apperceptive, and they have a stellar reputation for doing exactly this kind of work for some of the biggest and most respected sites around. From the Washington Post to Talking Points Memo to Major League Baseball, they've done a ton of very large-scale gigs and have a very strong reputation. Based in Soho.
posted by anildash at 4:45 PM on September 15, 2008

I second Anil's Apperceptive recommendation, but understand that they only do sites built on top of Six Apart's Movable Type platform. If that's your technology choice, then great but don't rule out Drupal, Wordpress, Expression Engine and other online community frameworks.

And I will reiterate, you don't need to spend $100K+ on a solution unless you really need the professionalism and high-level service that an expensive agency can provide.
posted by camworld at 8:42 PM on September 15, 2008

Don't wanna hog the thread, but 6A Services works with any platform, not just MT. They're just really good at MT. :)
posted by anildash at 11:39 AM on September 16, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone. I will continue to check this thread for updates.

And anil, I am already in touch with one of your colleagues. :)

As for the $100k, lesser is always better, but then, you guys haven't seen the scope of the project.
posted by bingo at 3:21 PM on September 16, 2008

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