November 07, 2007

Interesting ... neither Dave Winer nor Umair Haque share my opinion on Facebook advertising. Winer thinks it's a real challenge to Google, not a "sustaining innovation" that Google can copy. Haque thinks that advertising is the big thing for YASNS but thinks MySpace are well ahead because of their openness.

Hmmm ... well, they're both smart, I'm pausing to reconsider this a bit further, but I'm still more persuaded by my previous analysis than theirs.

Haque's probably right that if anyone can make a big success in the YASN-as-advertising-platform game, it's MySpace. (And I guess that means Google just handed them the game by creating OpenSocial)

But I still don't think that this is what YASNS are really (should really be?) about.


Scribe said...

Modern social networks are all about getting the viral hype. When people say that advertising is dead, it's just because it's been replaced by people gushing about iphones and what not to their friends. Blogposts reviewing ipods are much more valuable than TV ads.

I see the Facebook Ads as an extension of this - and a highlighting of the way in which modern conversation is becoming all about what you have, and what brands you're into.

We all like to look good by recommending things.

John Powers said...

Ethan Zuckerman did a post questioning our presumption of stuff on the Internet being free. Partly the post is a a pitch to give to Wikipedia's fund raising campaign. But particularly interesting is his critique of Free Rice

Ethan writes:

"No, what interests me about FreeRice is the reinforcement it gives to Internet users that their attention is a valuable currency."

I like Free Rice as a business. Part of what I like is the site provides a visual measure of participation.

I'm off point, but in reading your recent posts on YANS the point you made in TCP/IP vs. the Dollar that the question we should be asking isn't "Where's the money?" rather "Why the Money?" keeps coming to mind.

Couch Surfing manages to cover the cost by members paying $25 to become verified. That may not be enough in the long run, but it seems enough for the tasks for now.

Ethan seems to think that Wikipedia funding should be something similar to his local public radio station; ie. it should depend on donors.

Wikipedia get about 84,000,000,000 page view annually. Ethan says their annual budget this year is $4.6 million. What's my fair share of the costs for my use?

Umair Haque talks about connected consumerism. If I get your vision right you pay more attention to connected production.

If Dave Winer is right that: "Advertising will get more and more targeted until it disappears, because perfectly targeted advertising is just information. And that's good!" free Internet supported by ads won't last for long.

The vision for Ad-based "free" doesn't seem to make possible all sorts of things we want on the Internet, but I don't think that relying on donors is the only other option. I do think that our attention *is* valuable not just because it can be shared with advertisers.

Couch Surfing may be able to thrive with remarkably little money and lots of participation. Maybe there are ways to sustain Wikipedia without ads and without depending on a tiny donor base.

In the meantime, there's a strange mix of approaches.

Your question "Why the money?" is a question that must keep business executives up at night.

phil jones said...

John thanks,

that Free Rice is weird. It's kind of fun ... but WTF are some of these words?! It helps to speak a bit of a latin language because some "obscure" english words are quite normal elsewhere. My favourite example is the portuguese equivalent of "quotidian" really is in everyday usage in Brazil.

But there's something a bit disturbing about it too. You're being paid to do something which actually isn't generating any value for anyone except yourself. And the obvious question is, if the organization *has* the money to donate to the hungry world, is it going to hold that money back just because internet users are ignorant?

I'm also a bit peeved because I'm convinced that there are words there that I only don't know because they're just foreign imports. Since when is "younker" an English word? Hrrumph!

Don't know if "why the money" is keeping many business executives up at night ... yet ;-) But I agree that there's more to attention than merely selling it on for money.

Dave Winer's pretty good on trying to emphasize that even within the context of a money economy there are more profitable uses of attention than advertising. (Mainly to ask questions of and learn from your audience about other opportunities.)

phil jones said...

Oh ... and finally got to the magic vocab level 48 after donating 3290 grains of rice ;-)

John Powers said...

Free Rice is a for-profit enterprise which gives a percentage of it's profits to a not-for-profit. If you accept that by playing the game you're improving your vocabulary, then this little enterprise seems to have a triple bottom line.

The other bloggers I read that are paying attention to Facebook are in the non-profit area. Beth Kanter is so smart, and you can see that she's seeing the same pitfalls you are from the no-for-profit perspective.

I think we'll see many more mixed revenue models both for-profits and not-for-profits.

The real World Food Programe also has a way to click feed a child--the same program that get donations from Free Rice. Fight Hunger has been innovative in using social media. decided not to be a non-profit.

The ways we organize production are changed by the kinds of connections the Internet allows. The importance of money, while still important, has changed because of it.

48 at Free Rice! I've done no better than 44.