Weekly Digest of the Social Networking Space: August 20, 2008

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I’m getting more feedback that this digest is a success, I know have confirmation that leaders at the largest social networks (Facebook, MySpace, Hi5, Google) and community platform read this digest, submissions are piling in, as savvy PR folks continue to submit –thank you. Always try to submit links in addition to press releases.

I’m respecting your limited time by publishing this weekly digest on the Social Networking space, which I cover as an Industry Analyst –a good way to get in my head.

I’ve created a new category called Digest (view archives). Start with the Web Strategy Summary, then quickly scan the succinct and categorized headlines, read text for my take, and click link to dive in for more.

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Web Strategy Summary
This has been one action packed week, there are two acquisitions from Hi5 and AOL, MySpace extends it’s reach to third party sites, and Facebook crowned largest social network. There’s been several deployments by brands of branded communities, as well feature releases from LinkedIn and Six Apart. Most importantly, advertisers project increase of spending into this space –furthering growth in this industry.


Trends: Location Aware Social Networks
This is an important one to watch, as social networks (in real life) extend beyond the browser, so why shouldn’t that experience cater to our mobile devices? Ulocate and Where partner for GPS device Garmin, and Yelp syncs with Loopt and iPhone.

Stats: Facebook Global Social Network
Facebook has expanded it’s world conquest by allowing users to translate the site to their local languages, this lead to Facebook now being crowned as the largest global social network says BusinessWeek.

Money Projections: Advertisers increase spending on social networks
eMarketer publishes data that projects that US based advertisers will spend $40 million this year alone, then will increase spending to $210 Million in 2012, a growth rate of 300% in four years.

Acquisition: Hi5 acquires Interactive Technology PixVerse
This rapidly growing social network Hi5 has acquired technology that encourages in browser interaction, PixVerse. Expect the site’s experience to emulate desktop like behaviors, further engaging users.

Acquisition: AOL ready to lifestream and buys Social Thing
The latest trend in social software seems to involve aggregation or site-decoupling. AOL picks up on this and snags Social Thing, a competitor to Friendfeed, Facebook newspage, Six Apart’s Activity Streams and Google Reader.

Announcement: MySpace makes Data Available
Similar to Facebook connect (read my review) MySpace now let’s developers extend the experience of the community to third party websites with MySpace Data Availability (MDA). This increasing trend means that social networks are pervasive and eventually even on static websites that don’t want to participate.

Features: Six Apart adds social features in Movable Type
I was briefed yesterday by the 6A team, who have increased the social features of their robust blogging tool, Movable Type. Given their strong footprint in the enterprise sector, 6A should compete for dollars with other community platforms. Expect their suite of activity streams, and focus on content to be a differentiator.

Feature: Linkedin’s company pages get sorting feature
LinkedIn recently announced it’s new company pages –a trend moving the intranet outside of the firewall, and now adds more features that allow users to sort via industry, company size, and location.

Applications: RockYou tries monetizing with car ads
Seemingly an odd fit, RockYou will integrate ads for autos within it’s large network of widgets, should we expect the next BMW to appear in our superwall? Yet more examples of developers throwing rigatoni, spaghetti, and even pizza at the wall to see if it’ll stick.

Lawsuit: Facebook under fire from Beacon
This class action lawsuit aimed at Facebook and partners from users is intended to recoup damages from the ill-fated Beacon launch last year. Mark has admitted in public they’ve since learned from this.

Status: Cadence’s Community Manager shares 1st month Results
In a bold and forth coming way, Tom Diederich, Cadence’s community manager shares his experience after his first month of launching a branded community: over 6000 registrations and 1000 posts in 30 days.

People: Facebook Exec Ben Ling Boomerangs back to Google
This speculative post gives some insight to why Benjamin Ling, a former executive at Facebook has moved back to Google, with tie ins to the new COO, loyalty, and personalities.

Deployment: Heineken to launch community in Thailand
Popular “Skunky” beer Heineken to reach Asia community by investing in community software and launching their own platform to support it’s “Greenspace” campaign.

Partnership: Pluck extends partnerships
With Avenue A selecting just selecting Pluck as a strategic partner, now Swift Communications announces intent to use Pluck platform for client efforts. Expect to see other white label social network vendors to cozy up with interactive firms and digital agencies.

Deployment: Fox news joins Facebook –not MySpace
Although MySpace and Fox are both owned by behemoth Newscorp, they have to follow their audience and have deployed on Facebook, a smart move.

Deployment: MySpace hosts Presidential Debates
Myspace streamed the Rick Warren Civil Forum between McCain and Obama on the venue’s site Saddleback church for this first time meeting between candidates.

Deployment: Scottrade launches community with Small World Labs
This branch supported investment firm announces their own social networking site to allow customers to self support with each other. Small World labs is selected as technology partner, visit community.scottrade.com to see the site in action.

Culture: Students and Teachers awkwardly interact online
It’s important to note how these tools are used, and in this case, some teachers and students are unsure how to act online as personal and professional relationships merge. The benefit? teachers can now extend the classroom online.

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