Animal charity launches social network for pet lovers

LONDON - The Blue Cross has launched a social networking site for pet lovers, called All About Pets, which aims to challenge generic sites like MySpace when it officially launches today.

Billed as the "Facebook for pet lovers", has been developed by the charity to give pet lovers around the world a new way to communicate and share experiences or advice about their pets.

All About Pets is being promoted on and offline by digital PR agency Hot Cherry. The campaign includes a viral that allows users to send personalised talking pets to their friends via the site.

Built by digital agency DVA, the site hopes to fill a gap in the market created by sites like Facebook and has already proved popular since its beta launch in March, having wracked up 450,000 unique visits from 142 countries and more than 6,869 members signed to date.

Laura Dobson, spokesperson for All About Pets, said: "With millions of members, sites like Facebook seem set on becoming all things to all people. What sets All About Pets apart is its dedication to pet lovers. 

"The site offers a huge amount of information on all aspects of pet care and every function is easy to access and highly relevant. We know pet owners love talking about their pets so we've created a fun place for them to come together online and share their own experiences and advice."

As well as being able to make friends and talk about their pets visitors can also call upon a host of pet care advice from The Blue Cross including more than 80 leaflets on all aspects of animal care, which are available to view, print or download free from the site. 

Pet owners with specific problems or those with advice to share are encouraged to set up forums and social groups to discuss ideas across the entire network.

There are already over 1,000 threads running on the forum, with over 4,300 posts. Topics include: rabbits having babies; lonely ferrets; dogs that hate men; a kitten that was stung by a wasp; and a gerbil with a kink in his tail.

Dobson said: "As one of the UK's oldest animal charities, The Blue Cross has a wealth of experience in pet care.  But we also recognise that there are many pet owners out there with their own unique experiences to share."

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