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Nike and Google Get Social with Soccer
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Soccer fans around the world can now gather on a common (virtual) field, courtesy of an exclusive online community called Joga.com. A team effort on the part of Nike and Google, the site gives social networking a kick in the pants by creating a free forum for aficionados of the world's most popular sport to share photos and video clips, create personal websites and access profiles of Nike-sponsored athletes like Brazilian star Ronaldino and U.S. phenom Freddy Adu. Joga.com spins out of Nike's new "Joga Bonito" (i.e. "Play Beautiful") soccer campaign and bears some similarities to existing social networking sites like MySpace.com and Orkut.com, though the singular focus on one particular passion of a community of members is unique. Nike, which provides all of the site's content (Google handles the technical duties), is making an effort to convince potential members that Joga.com is truly an open, self-sustaining community dedicated to the love of all things soccer, and not simply a glorified online advertisement for the ubiquitous sneaker brand. Depending on its success, Nike has plans to create similar communities for other sports down the line.