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Social networking maybes

December 10, 2008 @ 10:45am

According to the Wall Street Journal, social networks are hard to monetize. That's pretty widely known in the industry. Facebook is a hot destination, but their ad solutions are not hot yet and might never be. Being impossible to monetize was a big criticism of AOL's surprise acquisition of the Bebo social networking service at a time when MySpace CPMs were still under a buck. And I'm sure they still are.

Maybe Facebook will crack the code and make money off of people's social activity online.

Maybe the only social networks that will thrive financially are ones that combine social features and some kind of specific consumer/vertical activity — like gaming or philanthropy or birdwatching.

Maybe there's only room for one purely social network to make money.

Maybe that will be Facebook with its lock on the U.S. audience or maybe it will be an upgraded Bebo that gets mashed into tons of popular AOL services.

Maybe there won't be a single global social networking winner.

Maybe we'll get leaders in each country and only a few services will get strong adoption in multiple countries.

Maybe I'm just fascinated about vertical social networks because it's part of the path Crowd Fusion is on.

Maybe it's just because I read Barb's really long interview with the founder of Raptr, the social network for gamers.

Maybe.

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