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.