RailBirds – amazing blogging experience

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RailbirdsWhen you participate in a social network or a poker community you expect to be noticed. I got noticed immediately after posting my first blog at Railbirds.com – one of the fastest developing social networks. A few comments to my "hello, this is me" type of blog were posted in just half an hour. In the next half my blog had disappeared from the general list as more and more blogs kept coming in. And they were all about playing poker and personal poker experience. And not just 1 or 2 sentences, no spam, no affiliate links. That’s why I was amazed by the blogging service in Railbirds. Need some numbers? I have counted 188 blog posts written in August 11th, Tuesday.

However, poker blogs are not the only one active feature in Railbirds. The chat room is also very active. I haven't seen people chatting at a poker chat room in quite a long time.

Railbirds have got their own Radio, Forum, Picture and Video galleries, Daily quizzes and one really interesting feature called Bird Feed. Every day one of the community members answers 15 questions about themselves, their poker experience, views and principles of poker. It looks like a short interview. The feedback from the members show that community loves it.

Railbirds organizes a lot of middle value tournaments and freerolls for their members. The passwords are sent in private messages. Participating in these tournaments also gives the possibility to be ranked in a community top player race and win additional prizes. It is something like a poker league.

The Operations Manager and one of the ProRails (that’s how moderators are called in Railbirds) Joe Hinz did not want to speak about the new upcoming features, however he answered some other questions shortly:

Q. Why does Railbirds perceives itself as a Poker Community instead of a social network?

A. Railbirds.com is a social network - but it's based around poker. Poker is the lowest common denominator, what unites people who would have otherwise never met each other. It's a great community and its basis is simply poker players.

Q. What features are the most popular in Railbirds?

A. The most popular feature by far is the freerolls and real money rankings with a WSOP grand prize. Lots of blogs are written daily and many of our users also organize themselves in clans and host private tournaments, but it's not an official feature.

Q. Who is running Railbirds?

A. Railbirds is run by Soluan Investments Ltd. on Cyprus. The site was launched in September 2006.

Q. Why "Railbirds"? How is it connected to poker or community?

A. A railbird is someone who is watching others play - they're standing on the rail. Railbirds is a community of people who play and watch poker. When the site first started, the intention was for the site to revolve around high-stakes play, hence the name. Today, we're a community of all kinds of players instead, and much enjoys that.

Q. What social networks are the biggest competitors of Railbirds?

A. Donkr is the hottest name at the moment.

Hopefully Railbirds will soon change its slogan from "Poker Community" to "Social Network" and will continue as one of the biggest poker social networks (now Railbirds boasts having almost 75,000 members).

Is everything so perfect? Of course NOT! Railbirds does not have almost any presence at the most popular Social Media. There is no Twitter account to follow, nor official Facebook page (facebook groups exist, but they are inactive). The last MySpace login was in April. While the moderators (ProRails) are active community members and available online 24/7 it is a shame they do not write their blogs about the development of the community. There is a section of the site news, but it cannot be called the staff blog. The Friend Invite feature is not developed as well; there is no contact import feature from any of the most popular webmail services and social networks. Okay, I can live with huge banners instead of small text ads . Also they still do not have one of the most popular poker web 2.0 features – poker hand replayer. Having so many community members Twitter update integration would also be a necessary feature (something like FTSweat). So, still a lot to do in the future in order to become a real and fully functional poker social network.