sole-mate.com

I’m never going to do this, so someone out there should do it and send me royalties:

My wife has feet of slightly different sizes; shamefully, I forget which is bigger. This is not so rare, but it’s poorly accommodated by shoe providers in this age of standardization; only expensive shoe stores will let you buy two differently sized shoes at a cost less than the sum of the pair. What she really needs is a sole-mate — someone with similar taste in shoes, who has the opposite pattern of sizes. That way, they can buy two pairs of shoes, each take the appropriate ones, and split the cost. Someone local would be best, but that might not even be necessary. Why isn’t there a social networking service to pair up sole-mates? (Someone may be thinking of it, or at least waiting for someone else to think of it — people are sitting on both solemate.com and sole-mate.com.)

There are a couple of kinks to be worked out here, of course, the most obvious being that sole-mated pairs have to work out a policy for returning the shoes in case one likes them and the other doesn’t. The more interesting meta question, though, is to what extent can niche social networking be profitable? So far, successful social networking services have been those that attract the largest number of people possible (Facebook, MySpace, maybe Livejournal); a sole-mate networking site is intrinsically self-limiting. But maybe you could grow the service out from sole-mates. Presumably there are other areas in which people need someone with complementary attributes; if your washing machine is broken, maybe you want to find someone with a broken dryer so you can save on a matched pair? There have to be better examples than that. Complementary.com and complementarity.com are taken, but complement.com is free for the ganking…

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