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October 17, 2008

TotSpot – Sharing and Documenting Your Baby’s Journey

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Chances are your baby has not demanded his or her own social networking page but with a lot of parents now on Facebook and/or Myspace, and many parents homebound, everyone likes to spread the news about their children. TotSpot is touted as a social networking tool for babies. The difference between TotSpot and a conventional social networking site is that a personal page is only meant to be shared with actual friends and family. You’re not going to get a lot of friend requests from unknown people,and that’s one of the selling points.

TotSpot is not a way for parents to connect with other parents. Although it can be used that way to set up playdates and the like, but the major reason for TotSpot is for parents to share photos and news about their young children. As most parents are very protective of putting pictures and other info about their kids online, TotSpot offers privacy protection to ensure the pages are secure.

Just like a traditional social networking page, TotSpot lets parents add a child’s interests: favorite toy, growth chart, milestones, such as learning to walk. Put together, it’s not just a place for parents to share information, but to document it as well, sort of like an online scrapbook. In a sign of the times, TotSpot takes this one step further and uses print on demand technology to let parents print up an actual bound book containing everything on the TotSpot page.

Practical Uses:

  • Use TotSpot to teach the grandparents how to use a computer and get daily updates on their grandkids
  • Trade information with your best friend who also had a child and see how each child is progressing
  • Take the initiative with remembering your child’s milestones. A lot of these things are going to be forgotten unless you get them down quickly
  • Other members of your family may have different pictures: TotSpot gives you one single source to post all these different pictures

Insider Tips:

  • Pick a theme – boy, girl, or more neutral
  • TotSpot has a great selection of milestones, such as “Smiled,” or “Slept through the night.” An easy way to write down dates and include pictures of the moment
  • Use the journal like a blog to enhance the pictures you upload, then link to the pictures in the journal using the chain button
  • Add new favorites (favorite food, favorite toy, etc.) and the old favorites will be displayed, showing how tastes have changed

What we liked:

  • The ability to print a page is awesome. Look for other sites to do this as well
  • Very easy-to-use interface. The layout on similar sites tends to be cold and business-like. TotSpot feels like entering a kid’s room
  • It’s free. Other sites charge for advanced applications
  • The ability to import pictures from other web apps like Flickr and Picasa makes the process painless
  • Very good, thorough, and quick customer support

What we didn’t like:

  • 500 MB limit on photos a month, though you’re not likely to exceed that
  • Limited video capability (you cannot upload your own videos from a camera, but you can add Youtube videos to a page)
  • No way to include your own type of milestone beyond the ones that are listed

Alternatives:

Company Info:

  • Launched: January 2008
  • Privately Held
  • Headquarters: New York, NY
  • Founded by: Michael Broukhim and Adam Katz
  • Web site: http://www.totspot.com

Costs:

  • Free