Weekly Digest of the Social Networking Space: August 29th, 2007


Due to the feedback, I’m continuing this weekly series of the Social Network Industry (now with masthead). I’ve created a new tag called Digest where you can start to track and access these going forward. The hope? To make it easy for a web strategist to quickly scan the activity in the last week. I strive to make headlines on items categorized and succinct.

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Web Strategy Summary
Facebook continues to grow, thanks to anticipated releases. Social Networks continue to build around brands using White Label Social Networks, segmentation around many affinities continue. The intersection between corporate life and personal life continue to conflict, both around productivity and privacy. Recommendations? corporations should be analyzing the market, and preparing budget for this must-watch and maybe-participate strategy. Segmentation is your friend, this helps you to find your small, passionate, and engaged audience.

Global: Social Networks all over the World
The August edition of Business 2.0 lists out other types of Facebook SoNets: China’s Xiaoneiwang, France’s Skyrock, Germany’s StudiVZ, India’s Minglebox, Israel’s Mekusharim, Mexico’s Vostu, Netherlands’ Hyves, Russia’s V Kontakte, and Turkey’s Qiraz.

Upgrade: Facebook improves development and user experience
In response to massive growth and development of applications, Facebook announces some changes to protect user data, improve experience, and features for developers, the specifics include: Profile Boxes, Application Directory, Requests, Notifications, and News Feed. The net effect? Great apps will be rewarded, bad ones punished. Facebook announced it’s focusing on ‘engagement‘ based on user behavior, critics suggest that it’s a privacy nightmare.

Privacy and Data: Concerns over Facebook’s data cloud cause stir
Facebook watchgroups, concerned with how information about personal, network and business data stir controversy with this big-brother video, blue never looked so ominous.

Growth: Facebook’s Platform 3 months later
This article gives some great stats about the activity, feeds, applications, advertising, and other information happening on the Facebook platform. Most interestingly enough, I believe we’re still at the start of something –orders of magnitude to come.

Targeted Ads: Facebook drops ‘Smart Bomb’ advertising
Facebook can segment some ads by gender and city, not even Google Ad Sense can be this accurate. Mashable wonders if this is clever or evil? I say clever, and if deployed correctly, the ads may be more relevant to the user –and less disruptive. Imagine if ads became so intelligently contextual that they are as valuable as news items on a feedreader.

Corporate Censorship: Half of Employers block Facebook
I really question the survey and numbers that CNET reports that half of employers restrict social networks for employees. Let’s remember that Social Network, if used correctly, can increase sales, bring marketing intelligence, encourages users to self-support, and build better products. Blocking Facebook? why not block the rest of the web.

Segmentation: Religious Groups adapt SoNets
One of the oldest social networks? Religion is now showing activity in groups on Facebook says Venture Beat: “Myspace, the world’s largest social network, recently told the New York Times it had more than 100,000 religion-focused groups while faith-based sites like Mychurch (its free-standing site), Xianz, Muslimspace and others reported well under that number of total users. New religious sites continue to launch.”

Segmentation: SoNets for different Professions
WSJ reports in that professionals of every career are starting to embrace social networks: Sermo for Medicine, New Reuters site for Finance, INMobile.org for Wireless execs, and AdGabber for advertising folks.

Segmentation: Professional Women Network
New SoNet called Damsels In Success has recently launched, it’s focus on the professional woman. There are discussion features, and job features that can launch women’s careers forward.

Money and Segmentation: Mom’s get their own Social Network
This reminds me of woman.com in the first web phase, as cafemom received $5 million in funding. What is this network? “Users offer tips and practical advice. Other popular groups are “Toddler Moms” and “Raising Boys.” The company says it expects two million unique users in August. Some of that traffic is being bought with advertising on search engines.”

Costs: Sponsored Group in Facebook A million $ a year
Valleywag suggests that the media kits for from Facebook cost nearly a million dollars a year for building a sponsored group. I’ve seen a variety of numbers, I guess the only way to really find out is to go talk to them. Also see the rate cards which they’ve published.

Deployment: Playboy to launch social network to save media brand
Limp media giant needs boost for online strategy “Hugh Hefner’s Playboy empire is set to launch a sexy social networking site dedicated solely to college students, its latest online venture as it tries to reinvigorate its stagnant finances.” I wonder if they asked Facebook for entry, if so, changes were they were barred, that’s where the college students are at. To be fair, they should consider a SoNet for Playgirl too. What would be a smart deployment? Dating type widgets for Facebook –but no nudity –think lifestyle (no not the brand). It’s powered by Ning. See Zivity, with a similar approach.

Applications: Google launches Facebook social search widget
Google launches a search widget for Facebook that lets you search the web and share the results with your friends. Sadly, it has errors on the first page on launch. Expect more mainstream features to be ported to Facebook and to sit on top of the social engine.

Be sure to check out previous weekly digests.