Sunday, August 26, 2007

advertising in social networks

see link, which should be automatically placed, i havent used scribefire for awhile (or posted at all in awhile) and pretty much forgot how it works.

advertising in social networks is a very interesting problem to me. as i see it the two goals are fundamentally opposed; users want to do whatever it is kids do on the facebook these days (presumably, post pictures of themselves drunk and write funny captions), specifically without being advertised to. the site wants to make money, so its sells advertising space. advertisers want to tap into this new marketing space which so often captures otherwise hard to reach demographics.

banner ads are all well and good, but they've been around for so long they've got to be pretty much completely ineffective by now. this leads marketers to try more novel approaches, like creating actual sites for whatever they're selling and trying to friend people, etc.

but users backlash against this. they perceive it as an infiltration into their otherwise pure online social world. and so they deface the site. its like the SL guys who blew up nike's building, or whatever that was.

both the site and the companies advertising on it are playing a dangerous game. in this case, more people probably found negative press on wal-mart than positive; i doubt they've earned any more shoppers through this venture. at the same time, users are mad at facebook, and it doesnt take much to get fickle user-bases to switch over to a new medium.

my advise to the wal-marts of the world; play your cards very carefully in this new game. err on the side of caution... when the kids in the facebook decide they need a new... whatever (what does wal-mart sell anyway.. everything right?), they'll decide where they want to go get it from. if they want to look at hilarious pictures from last weekends crazy party at Fred's place when his parents were out of town...they're going to get pissed at you if you interrupt that.

as for facebook, be careful not to sell out your user base too much, or they'll be gone before you know it.

i've even had thoughts of starting up a social networking site specifically designed not to have any ads... but there's obviously no money in that. still, an open source ad-free social networking site would probably catch on pretty quick.

link to what the hell i'm talking about

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