Social network Multiply goes premium

High-resolution photo storage and ad-free browsing are part of the new paid account system at Multiply, which targets grown-ups who don't want their photos all over the Web.

Caroline McCarthy Former Staff writer, CNET News
Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.
Caroline McCarthy

Multiply, a social network that has done a fine job of flying under the radar since its 2005 launch, has announced a new paid-account program that focuses on media storage. Called a "digital scrapbook," this premium feature will cost $19.95 annually.

Members who opt in to the "digital scrapbook" program will be able to store high-resolution photos, as well as videos up to 20 minutes long. They will also be able to surf the site without ads.

Multiply has also launched a tool that automatically uploads photos and videos to a private "locker," from users can choose content to share with friends. All Multiply profiles are friends-only, as the site promotes an aim of friends-and-family communication and media sharing.

The site also has a more "adult" focus than many social networks; the average age of active users ranges from the upper 20s to mid-30s. "We've never tried to be the hip, cool nightclub," Vice President Michael Gersh said to CNET News.com.

Multiply hit the 9 million member mark recently and will likely hit 10 million in July, still paltry compared to the likes of Facebook and MySpace. But executives say touting huge growth numbers would be contrary to the site's aim of connections between family and close friends, not random strangers or even acquaintances. Its members, according to Multiply numbers, post 2 million photos, 19,000 videos, and 55,000 blog entries every day.

"It's much more organized and meaningful than some explosive megasite," Gersh said. "People are sticking around."