Similar to other popular social networks, such as Facebook or Twitter, seafarers can create their own profile, search for other seafarers by ship, rank or company and post updates to their wall, as well as providing them with a platform to chat with other seafarers and participate in Crewtoo-led polls, games and quizzes.
However, the site does have a major difference in that members who don’t yet have full internet access on board are able to post updates to their Crewtoo page by e-mail from their ship, and receive a weekly round-up of activity on their page by e-mail.
Headland Media, which also operates NewsLink, Walport and Crew Media Player, began work on Crewtoo in November 2011 when the team began to pose questions directly to crew via a small text-based advert in the daily NewsLink newspapers.
Participating crew members were asked to share their thoughts on issues ranging from their favourite type of music to what they saw as the downsides of working at sea. The results were printed the following week and a weightier round-up of responses was delivered to members’ e-mail addresses.
Crewtoo is currently an e-mail community of over 1,700 members with a growth rate of 7 new members per day, and with 10 per cent participating in weekly polls.
“Seafarers work hard and spend a lot of time alone at sea, yet are by and large ignored both by mainstream media and business,” said Mark Woodhead, MD at Headland Media.
“We believe these seafarers need more attention, more services, and an increased ability to communicate with each other. We have developed Crewtoo to be both ‘a club’ and ‘a service provider’ to seafarers, with the internet and e-mail being the key to this.”
The company is aiming to attract more than 6,000 members by the end of 2012.