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Did faulty servers kill Friendster? Discussions of Friendster may sound like ghosts from social networking's past, but the site's founder Jonathan Abrams is back in the news today, telling the LA Times today that Friendster got too big too fast, and attributes his company's downfall to poor functionality resulting from exponential growth.
Abrams, who's now working on start-up Socializr, says that MySpace was able to eat Friendster's lunch because of better targeting and reliability:
"They opened it up to minors, which hadn't even occurred to me for the legal and safety reasons... the real reason that Friendster got supplanted by MySpace in the U.S. was that MySpace's website just worked and Friendster's didn't."
While dependability is key to a website's success, Abrams is still missing the big picture on what makes social networks stick around online.
News of Michael Jackson's death last month nearly shut down the Internets with interest and confusion as people went online to check and discuss the news. Today is the pop singer's memorial service in Los Angeles and online news channels and video hubs are preparing for similar levels of traffic.
Everyone - from the BBC to USA Today and MySpace - is planning to live stream the service, which is today at 10:00 PST at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. If viewer interest comes anywhere near the level expected by these sites, the whole Internet might shut down. Alternately, it could illustrate the potential of online video left untouched by profit motives.
Facebook's changes to the way it deals with privacy and sharing settings represent a major shift in the type of social networking Facebook is encouraging its users to engage in.
The company has long prided itself on giving users the ability to control who sees what you share on its network and even went so far as to create a privacy regime that many found overly complicated.
Friendster provided the quintessential story of a hot company that rose quickly and fell even quicker. At one point, Friendster seemed set to dominate the social networking market.
Then two upstarts, MySpace and Facebook, left it battered and bruised. While the company still exists, the chances that it will ever recapture its past glory seem, to some observers, slim to none.
The tough economy has led to an uptick in advertising experimentation online, but one thing that publishers have not approved is also on the rise — ads imbedded with malware.
Websites have long taken to selling their advertising through a number of different strategies, including but not limited to in house salesmen, ad networks and exchanges. But the diverse and varied nature of online ad selling has its own set of concerns for publishers, now including the threat of viruses.
Research in Motion has had a major hurdle in the way of selling its smartphones over the past few years: it's called the iPhone. The Blackberry may have sold 6.7 million smartphones in the third quarter of last year, but that was a record quarter, and Apple shipped 6.9 million iPhones in the first quarter of its existence.
The other problem is that the iPhone has incredibly high user participation rates online. There are many more conversations about the iPhone happening on the web than the iPhone, which RIM is tring to fix.
As the Blackberry maker learned last year, 76% of consumers don’t think companies tell the truth in advertising, while 78% trust the recommendation of other consumers. According to Brian Wallace, Director of Global Digital Marketing for RIM, money spent on advertising and an appealing website was effectively wasted: “we were where our customers were not.”
Many businesses are interested in employing social media to their benefit but there are a number of challenges that make social media a challenging proposition.
One of them is making social media sustainable. As exciting as it can be to start using Facebook, Twitter and other popular social media websites, excitement usually wears off real fast and many businesses struggle to sustain their social media efforts.
When you read a news story about social media or come across a job posting for a 'social media expert', chances are the tools of social media will be front and center.
Twitter, Facebook, MySpace. If you had no exposure to social media, you'd probably assume that these popular services were the end all and be all of social media.
What is a 'social media expert'? What qualifications does one reasonably need before being paid to assist businesses with social media campaigns?
Despite the fact that there are plenty of self-proclaimed 'social media experts' out there, these are two questions for which we don't have good answers.
As Facebook's unbelievable growth continues unabated, the company is increasingly finding itself scrutinized by critics who are asking a simple question: 'where's the money'?
Even though Facebook is generating hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue, its costs are growing rapidly and there are various unsubstantiated rumors that the company is on a potentially disastrous financial path.
Facebook has over 175m users. MySpace has over 125m. Twitter's traffic has grown at over 1,000%.
All three services are considered to be extremely valuable and their popularity is where the value is at. With their users, they're worth hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars. Without them, they're worth close to nothing.
When it comes to innovation, look to the non-profits. When you're short of marketing megabucks, necessity can be the mother of some pretty interesting inventions. Consider the Obama campaign, or PETA.org's fascinating forays into viral marketing.
Amnesty International UK has just announced a new initiative that takes into account a factor that's huge in email marketing, but little used in social media: timing. At 1:10 p.m. on Friday, they're asking supporters to drop a coordinated social media bomb to raise awareness about violence against women in the UK.
Why Friday, why 1:10, you ask? Relevance. Friday March 6 is International Womens Day, and one in ten is the ratio of women in Britain who are victims of rape or violence.