Webometric Thoughts

March 14, 2008

Yesterday big day for SNS, but what about tomorrow?

Filed under: Bebo,MySpace,Social Networking Sites,web innovation — admin @ 8:42 am

Yesterday saw a couple of big social network stories:
MySpace launched developer platform in beta
Bebo bought by AOL for $850 million
Whilst we have been waiting for the MySpace story for months, the second was heralded with much less fanfare. Together the two stories mark final growing-up of SNS.

The big three have now all been bought (at least in part) and all have developer platforms. They are no longer new and exciting, but rather an integrated part of the web users’ daily lives. Whilst there may be new entrants and new exciting innovations, the heady days are past us. The question now is what is going to be the next big innovation? What will be the next exciting range of products that get the big players fighting over the start-ups? The obvious answer is the virtual worlds of Second Life etc, but they have yet to really capture people’s interest in the same way…and if EA-land is anything to go by they won’t for a while yet.

If I knew the next big idea I wouldn’t be writing some crumby blog, instead I would be programming like crazy. But if you know where I should be investing my spare sixpence please feel free to let me know.

Nb. In truth I wouldn’t be programming, instead I would be getting others to program for me. Too much wrapping up of programming and web innovation stifles innovation.

October 25, 2007

Who really won Facebook?

Filed under: Microsoft,MySpace,facebook,share price,social web — admin @ 8:30 am

You couldn’t really describe the Microsoft investment in Facebook as breaking news, the story seems to have been going on for weeks. The final outcome, a 1.6% stake for $240 million, valueing Facebook at $15 billion. If Facebook is worth $15 billion, then I’m the Queen of Sheba.

Whilst I think that it is an outrageous price, it will probably work out quite well for Microsoft as it will tie Facebook into their adverts for the forseeable future. Whereas I don’t think it is necessarily a good deal for Facebook, they should have sold a little bit more whilst they had the chance, their stock is unlikely to be riding this high forever and they need to capitalise on it ASAP. Zuckerberg talks about going public in two years, by which point it will probably be worth half as much.

The other big social networking sites are going to continue innovating, new social networking sites will enter the market, the mobile market is going to become increasingly important, and teens are going to decide they want to hang out somewhere different to their parents. The market is constantly shifting, but the $15billion price tag seems to reflect a continued status quo. Yesterday Techcrunch published the growth rates of a number of different social sites, and the fastest by far is IMEEM a site that has managed to pass me by up to now. Whilst I have yet to have a close look at IMEEM, it serves to illustrate the point about emerging sites; it may be the next big thing, it may not, the point is nothing will stay the same.

However the future of social networking pans out, one thing is for sure: Rupert Murdoch got MySpace for a bargain price.

October 10, 2007

Is the UK Networking or Wilfing?

Filed under: Bebo,MySpace,comScore,facebook — admin @ 7:44 am

The latest research from comScore finds U.K. social networking site usage to be the highest in Europe. Whilst the UK users average 5.8 hours per month (with the heavy users’ average being 22 hours per month), the average hours per user in Germany is only 3.1 hours and in France 2.0 hours. There are two ways of viewing these result:
1) UK residents are using social networking sites to share ideas, collaborate, and come up with innovative ideas, and increased use of social networking sites will help economic growth.
2) UK residents are merely wilfing, aimlessly surfing the internet with little or no purpose (from the phrase ‘what was I looking for), and is of little productive use.

Whilst the press release lacks details on which social networking sites are being used (LinkedIn use seems likely to be more productive than MySpace), I fear that the majority of use is likely to be the big three generic sites (i.e., MySpace, Bebo, and Facebook), and people’s surfing habits have changed from aimlessly surfing the whole web to aimlessly surfing/interacting with their social network communities. Whilst I am sure that our fellow Europeans will soon catch up, I don’t think it will be something that they’ll be boasting about.

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