the culture and values of social media

Widgety Tidbits

Posted: August 8th, 2006 | Author: | Filed under: advertising, social networking, software | 3 Comments »

1. Talked to the Slide guys last night at the WWDC Bloggers party and yes, the new MySpace slideshow is definitely a Slide.com product. Which I’m in full support of, as it’s a cool piece of software.

2. All summer I’ve been posting about MySpace’s secondary markets and widgets. There are tons of new widgets coming out daily, and the best way to keep up with them is to read the widget blogs like Widgetoko and Flying Seeds. I’m not so interested in individual widgets (although I like Meebo’s embedded IM widget a lot, to the point where I might install it on this blog)– what’s fascinating to me is the number of widgets that attempt to monetize user-to-user interaction.

For example, here’s Favorite Thingz (please forgive me):

Basically, the user goes through a process where they create a badge by picking bands, movies, brands, services (websites), stores and teams until they have about ten. Each one of these “thingz” gets rotated through one’s badge (widget) and apparently the user earns some sort of kickback if they get clickthroughs. There is no explanation of this process on the site. Do referrals need to purchase something? Where do they purchase it? How do the users collect their commissions?

I have no idea how they picked the “thingz”: I believe they’re probably placeholders, unless Chanel has decided that user-to-user microtargeted advertising via MySpace profiles is their new publicity push. It is slightly shady that users can pick from liquor and condom brands– and what teen is going to want to broadcast their love of Carefree or Tampax to the world?

Mashable sez: “A really neat product“. Well, maybe. But it still remains to be seen whether the users actually get anything, and whether the products being offered are actually co-sponsored or not. I’m betting they aren’t. Kids are putting Chanel, BMW, Hummer, Coach, Louis Vuitton all over their MySpace pages already, so this model is an interesting way to kick back to what is essentially free advertising; but how much does it lessen the Chanel brand for it to be splashed all over the profile of a 16 year old girl from Florida who loves Rhianna and Hollister?

The same company made MyPickList, which attempts to monetize user-contributed reviews.

As usual, I’m ambivalent on this stuff. Academics would moan about the commercialization of everyday life, etc. etc. and to a large extent, I’m suspicious of that stuff too. But this isn’t the same as whisper marketing; it’s really more like wearing a Nike t-shirt or carrying a Coach knock-off bag. Yes, there are plenty of kids who are going to plaster their profiles with these types of self-created advertisements in an attempt to generate revenue, but it’s not like they would be pristine and beautiful in the first place. They’d be covered with YouTube videos of ghost ridin’ the whip and Diet Coke and Mentos rockets. So I guess given that, and given that we obviously live in a world where people express themselves through the consuming and flaunting of brands, the kids may as well get some revenue pocket money back from all this brand association.

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Link roundup for August 4, 2006

Posted: August 4th, 2006 | Author: | Filed under: delicious | No Comments »
Fantastic Mozilla theme with fake fur, leopard-print, blinged out icons and all that pimp shit.


MySpace launches new killer image apps

Posted: August 3rd, 2006 | Author: | Filed under: social networking, software | 7 Comments »

I just did a huge competitive analysis on MySpace, Friendster, Bebo, Cyworld and Facebook. MySpace has been rolling out some cool stuff under the radar lately that I was pretty impressed with. First, it seems that they’ve upgraded their photo hosting to unlimited, or at least more than the 9-10 photos that were previously alive. Not good for Photobucket!

But they kind of had to: compare the photo tools for the other social networking sites:

Facebook:

  • Unlimited photo storage
  • Ability to identify people in pictures
  • Really nice web-based uploading/photo album tool

Friendster

  • 50 picture limit

Bebo

  • Unlimited photo storage
  • Nice photo album organization

Cyworld

  • Built-in image editing software (granted, it sucks: it doesn’t work in Firefox and required three different plug-ins to work in IE, and then it still didn’t work)

Also interesting is that MySpace recently launched slideshows. Now, I can’t tell whether they partnered with Slide.com for this, but I suspect that they did, since they look so similar:

Slide.com slideshow

MySpace slideshow

Which is good for Slide. I like their product a lot; they have a snappy UI and great MySpace integration. Anyone know whether this is a real partnership? If it isn’t, MySpace should be spanked for ripping off Slide’s design.

Anyway, MySpace is slowly but surely continuing their drive towards demonetizing secondary market applications. I have a lot to say about all the Flash 9 stuff from last week that I’ll write about later today.

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Link roundup for August 3, 2006

Posted: August 3rd, 2006 | Author: | Filed under: delicious | No Comments »
Cute, all in Flash, very girly.


Link roundup for August 2, 2006

Posted: August 2nd, 2006 | Author: | Filed under: delicious | No Comments »
New book by Alex Galloway, a prof in my dept.

Kind of whiny article about how Web2.0 is intrusive and marketing-driven. I agree with the sentiment, sort of, but I think the author needs a better and more clear understanding the mechanisms of web marketing before they start complaining about it genera