Social networking sites can get millions of users, but can they make millions in revenue? I’m a bit conflicted about how these sites monetize services. And, just who are these people? The people that swarm to these sites? Do they have jobs or should we label them the bored-at work generation?
I submit that relevance to your social community and the monetary engagement is what accelerates the social networks forward in terms of revenue or traffic or users. The bored-at-work generation went thru the marketing spin-zone machine and are now called the “Participation Age”…all about people connecting across the network to share, collaborate, explore, create and discover just how amazing the world truly can be. I’m thinking this has a bit of deja-voodoo. If you are ‘ol enuff to remember the CB Radio then you’ll remember that when few people had them they were very good communication tools. Then as costs came down and as more people bought them the “noise” level increased to the point where you could not hear the conversation. How many people have a CB Radio on their holiday wish list? I suspect very few.
So, these predominately Teen oriented sites have had meteoric rise in growth, but the “noise” keeps increasing and increasing. Take Consumating yet another “new” way to find and connect with people. You tag (mypeeps) someone that makes you laugh and they appear automagically (is that a word?) and your peeps will continue to amuse/bemuse/distract you from your important job. Tell everyone what you just overheard at the water cooler and do it on-line…
“Jimmy just, like, called Bill, like stupid, duh we knew that and like he’s totally lazy too…like always surfing the internet…like can we, like just, like U-know go like, back to where we like all get along or like, what…”
Then there’s Fake Your Space. Feeling lonely because your are not popular enough on your social networking site? Don’t have enough friends commenting on your blog? So, how popular do you want to be? This new “service” where paid models (for a monthly price of $.99/month) will pump-up your MySpace, Facebook, Friendster, Flickr sites with comments and postings about how cool and popular you are. All this of course, is done as privately as possible so as to not let anyone know that you’re “faking” it and no one will be wiser with your new found gorgeous models as friends.
How about Datemypet. Another Match.com knock-off for the online speed dating crowd with focus on Pet lovers and their pets. Single and have a cat? Then why not spend time at work looking for a life partner or a buddy for your pet. Little known fact from the site is:
14% of dog owners admitted they might continue dating someone they didn’t like all that much, just to spend time with that person’s dog…
I wonder what the cat people think? I can visualize the dating profile now…Cute dog pics everywhere with the statement: My pets perfect date is hanging out in the park, taking casual walks with an occasional Frisbee romp topped off with bone-treats at the McDonalds drive-thru!
Another example is VampireFreaks (with 750,000 users) offers a premium subscription to create “unlimited cults” along with 17 other “useful” features.
Finally, the nirvana of social sites is one that shot up like a rocket called Second Life (a virtual reality world where only your imagination stops) has expanded into a new world and you’ll have the time of your life doing it. Second Life, for those of you who are going, huh?, is a video game full of fake cities, shops and people. It’s the type of place where people who have sex with dolls in real life can have sex with avatars in fake life. And, oh my, what forms these avatars can take. Or if you want to pole dance for $18 in a sleazy club never feeling so alive, this is the place for people who feel no pain while in the guise of a throbbing avatar. Sure, I’ve glommed on to the more thematically mature activities that occur within SecondLife, but it’s all there…on the internet.
Yep, that bored-at-work generation is truly getting everything they ever wanted from their social communities…and people will pay for it! Go figure.