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Yummypets: New social 'petwork' for your dog or cat

There's a new social network in town and it's for pet-lovers only. Don't be alarmed by its name; it's not a gathering of people who love to eat pets. Yummypets aims to bring pet owners together and become the social network, or "petwork," for pets.

Launched in the UK in May this year, Yummypets was founded in France in January 2012 and now boasts more than 150,000 French members and some 20,000 in the UK, with 600 brands and organizations interacting on the site. With an anticipated launch in the U.S., Canada and Brazil in the next 12 months, Yummypets expects to bring features like partnerships with local merchants and vets to the rest of the world.

Until that happens though, users from all over the Internet are welcome to set up profiles and start using existing free functions like free classified pet ads, missing pet notices, memorial pages and "Yummy Or Not." The site also has a mobile app for iOS and Android users to stay connected on-the-go.

We went hands-on with Yummypets to see if it was better than setting up a Facebook account for your furry friend.

Setup Process
The setup process is simple enough. You can choose to use your Facebook account to login or set up a brand new Yummypets account (also simple and relatively hassle-free).

Setting up via Facebook didn't result in any unnecessary posts on our timeline, and we were brought to the page to set up a profile for our pets. Yummypets is clearly designed for the informed pet-owner, and the form to create a pet profile has 15 fields for owners to fill up, with questions ranging from whether it is neutered, to "What is its favorite toy?" and "What is its funniest habit?" 

Most of the questions are optional, and only three basic questions - name, type of animal and sex, need to be filled out. If you're a pet aficionado though, you will love the lists of different breeds of animals in the "Breed" field.

Once you create a pet profile, you're done! Pretty simple. 

Community Features
Most of the features of Yummypets are reminiscent of Facebook. The home page of your account is a feed of all your network activity. At the very top is a notification bar, a search field and a dropdown menu for all your account options. You may upload pictures and videos, post a status and create teams (like Facebook's groups) and pages. 

There is also a bar with shortcuts to community features such as pet forums, the "Yummy Or Not" page, Agenda , Birthdays and Memorials, which feel like features that Facebook has retired.

Since the petwork has yet to launch in the US, many of these features are very limited. For instance, Agenda displays a calendar of pet-related events  in the area that users can choose to attend, and while there are no "animal happenings" in the US, there are a variety of events happening in places like France and Belgium. In the UK, for instance, some of the events listed include "Strutt Your Mutt", which is a sponsored dog walk around a private estate, and some pet workshops and tea parties.

Other features like Forum, Birthdays, Memorial and Latest Photos are a great way to get to know new pets and learn from experienced and novice pet owners who may have encountered similar pet problems to you and can share solutions. It is also a good way to connect with people and pets across the pond, since most of the users currently on the site are in France, Belgium or the UK. 

Yummy Or Not
Sure, it sounds like you're comparing how delicious the animals are, but as the rep for Yummypet says, Yummy Or Not is actually "like an animal version of 'Hot or Not'."

You are shown two pictures of animals side-by-side and you select the one you think is "Yummy". They're randomly selected and not compared by breed, so you may sometimes get odd match-ups like a horse versus a stick insect. You may choose to view top rated pets on the network, or keep rating pets to your heart's delight. 

There isn't any real interaction with this feature, though you can easily click on the pet's name to go to their profile and become a fan. It is pretty much a time-wasting feature for animal lovers who need a quick distraction. 

Final thoughts
Most of the site seems to be underused, making it seem like the site's 170,000 odd members merely signed up out of curiosity and quickly lost interest. Events on the Agenda do not seem to be popular with users, with most of them showing no participant interest at all. Even the Yummy Or Not feature seems to be used by only a select handful of Yummypets users. For a social network boasting so many users, Yummypets would benefit from a more-engaged user base.

There are many features on Yummypets that show great potential for the pet-lover community, like the breed-specific forums and merchant tie-ins. A recent study showed that many U.S. pet owners are keen to adopt technologies that improve their relationships with their pets, and if Yummypets can streamline its functions, it could very well be the go-to for pet owners everywhere.

More on this from Laptopmag.com.