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June 30, 2006

Social Networking Essays

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Here are three interesting essays about how social networks work. Highly relevant reading for anyone in a social networking company—or investing in one.

5 reasons why social networks fail

5 reasons why social networks can succeed

Situational Relevance in Social Networking Websites


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Comments

Could VOIS.com become another Facebook?

Since the advent of social networking sites in 1997, the phenomenon has taken the world by storm. Once called a passing fad social networking is now a thriving business, in 2006, alone it garnered over $6.5 billion in revenue, while the three biggest players, connected over 280 million subscribers in a way never known before to society. This form of connection has drawn the globe closer together than anyone ever predicted.

Just a few years ago, MySpace.com, solely dominated the social networking site market with almost 80% of the social networking site market but now websites like Facebook entered the social networking site race becoming the 8th most viewed website in the U.S. according to web measuring traffic site Alexa.com. Facebook.com which originally started at Harvard University , later extended to Boston area schools and beyond has mystified many naysayer's with its explosive growth over the last three years and an astounding asking price of $10-$15 billion dollars for the company. But who will be next?

Who will carry the torch into the future?

With the rapid growth of the likes of MySpace and Facebook the burning question on everyone's tongue is who is next? As with any burgeoning field many newcomers will and go but only the strong and unique will survive. Already many in the field have stumbled, as indicated by their traffic rankings, including heavily funded Eons.com with its former Monster.com founder at the helm, Hooverspot.com and Boomj.com with its ridiculous Web 3.0 slogan. There are many possibilities but it is a dark horse coming fast into view and taking hold in the social networking site market at the global level that has us interested the website - Vois.com. Less than a year ago, this newest contender directed at 25 to 50 years olds graced the absolute bottom of the list with its website ranked at a dismal 5,000,000. With not so much as a squeak this rising star has come from the depths of anonymity growing an eye-popping 10,000% in less than one year to make itself known worldwide now sporting a recent web traffic ranking in the 5,000 range.

Understanding the Market

When people in the United States hear about Facebook and other services such as MySpace the widely held belief is that these websites are globally used and are as synonymous as Google or Yahoo in regards to having a global market presence. This idea is completely misguided. Now it is true that both of these social networking giants are geared to service the western industrialized cultures but when it comes to the markets of the future, the emerging markets, they have virtually no presence. The sites themselves are heavily Anglicized, and Facebook in particular has an extremely complicated web interface that eludes even those familiar with the language, making them virtually inaccessible in other parts of the world even where English is the main language.

Our interest in Vois is global and geopolitical. Simply, Vois understands this lack of market service and is building its provision model on a global research concept developed by Goldman Sachs a few years ago. The concept is basically predicated on the belief that beginning now using current economic models and continuing those models over the next few decades will lead to a major paradigm shift in the world regarding nations who are current economic leaders like those being the USA and the other members of the G-7 and those who will become dominant in the world economy mainly the BRICs. In the Goldman research report Goldman highlights the fastest growing nations and has dubbed them with the two acronyms BRIC's and N-11. BRIC standing for ( Brazil, R ussia, India and China) representing the fastest growing economies and N-11 or what are being called the Next-11 representing the next 11 countries to emerge as future important economies such as Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Korea, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Turkey and Vietnam. This approach has already been implemented with some success with companies like Orkut, who has over 80% of the market share in Brazil and large holdings in India and Eastern Europe . Other providers such as Hi5 have the world as their focus and are making great strides in global market share while Facebook builds itself into a niche provider wholly unready to take on the world.

A Growing Presence

As Vois breaks new ground in the world market pursuing previously ignored demographics, they afford themselves the opportunity of tremendous growth unfettered by the giants such as Facebook and MySpace. While cultivating this new user base, Vois will also be able to monopolize on their business revenue strategies, creating an area of commerce that will make their site increasingly attractive to business and users the world over. This concept, dubbed sCommerce, allows the subscriber to promote themselves in both personal and a professional fashion while giving them the option of setting up shop on the site. This approach will allow business owners to target their market in a way never before allowing them to focus on interested groups of individuals while providing follow-up without having to commit to wasteful blanket campaigns that are typically the order of the day. This newfound border will allow Vois to explore new revenue models while provide a tremendous service for both their regular subscribers and business subscribers alike. With all this going on, rapid traffic growth to the site, we pose the question - is Vois the next Facebook, it sure looks like it but only time will tell….

Social Networking sites will have a place as long as the internet has palace in society. People will always use social networking tools to find new friends keep in touch with current friends and express themselves. That is Why I created my own Social Networking website http://www.sociallive.com/ but this is for 18 and over adults only website.

I thank you for your comment.

I thank you for your comment.

I think no matter what social networking sites will susceed and there are so many niches out there like www.friendwise.com thats just tagets nice guys and girls for friends only and is very well monitored with never a problem. Plus they have many features not found on other social networking sites.

At Multiply.com, we've taken on a few of the issues raised in the 'fail' entry.

I think there are two types of people on social networking sites:

1) The people who joined because they were curious about the 'next big thing' or because someone they knew invited them and they were flattered.

2) Super-connectors who collect connections like someone who collects baseball cards. These people tend to have very obscure roles, such as quasi-academics in incomprehensible fields or people who are into multi-level marketing and things like that.

The article in the New Yorker a few weeks ago about Facebook made me realise that in some contexts, these sites have real traction but for the general public, I find myself wondering exactly how useful they really are.

I mean, has anyone actually got a job or made a sale through LinkedIn or any of the other business networking sites?

Those *are* interesting posts, Guy.

The first article seems to implicitly state that if you can provide a social network that provides you with more quality connections and doesn't reward members with lots and lots of connections, the more meaningful the network will be.

I agree with this simply because it mirrors real life. You can have lots and lots of "friends" (like on MySpace) for instance, but having a ton of friends doesn't necessarily preclude having meaningful connections with them.

The other thing the article suggests is that you need to provide other people in the network. I agree with that too. Getting people hooked up is just the beginning.

Does this mean the perfect social networking site offers quality over quantity and once you have meaningul connections with people, lots to do ?

I bet it'd be a great start.

Thank you, Guy for the useful links! I guess we are all in the networking business. Some fail terribly and some succeed well. It helps to be guided by the experienced and experts.

None by Danah?
http://www.danah.org/papers/

Thank you. I am an entrepeneur with social networking related ideas. Collecting as much information and research as I can.

I aired my own views on this a few days ago.


http://makemarketinghistory.blogspot.com/2006/06/co-operative-crowds-versus-narcissitic.html

On the other hand, there are real-world social networks: http://www.tbray.org/ongoing/When/200x/2006/06/28/Social-Networks

well it is very good

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