Couple to challenge Facebook with first Oz private social networking site

Sydney: A Gold Coast couple are taking on Facebook with Australia``s first private social networking site, and software giant Microsoft is behind them.

According to, Jase and Brooke Farmer will officially launch FamilyHQ in Sydney in two weeks, but they already have 1000 people signed up from 10 countries since it went live four weeks ago.

The Palm Beach couple, who have four children under the age of six, sold the family home in Mudgeeraba and two investment units to finance the venture.

They have been developing the site since 2007 and recently had it valued at 10 million dollars by an independent accountancy firm.

FamilyHQ will be launched in New Zealand, the UK and Ireland within the next six months.

Developed on the Microsoft Cloud platform Windows Azure, FamilyHQ quickly caught the attention of Microsoft bosses and the website is now part of the Microsoft Partner Network.

"Microsoft saw us as a national case study for Windows Azure," Mr. Farmer said.

FamilyHQ will be in direct competition to hugely popular social networking site Facebook, which was created in 2004 and now has 800 million active users.

The Farmers are hoping to amass 500,000 members by the end of 2012.

The couple will travel to Sydney in a fortnight for a media launch for the website.


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