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Just a quick mention of a couple of articles I’ve picked up on today.  The first over at E-commerce Times talking about the fact that traditional advertising isn’t really working and the other from Publishing 2.0 about the decommoditisation of social networks.

I’ve long been confused at most social networks reliance on conventional web advertising on social spaces. These banner ads don’t jump from your thought pattern (While looking at what my friend is up to and share some photos with my network, I might check out that new Land Rover they’re advertising to me!).  There is no natural context to ads like this, unless you target groups.  The group spaces aren’t too different from those in Yahoo! or others that’ve been around for years.  They have a specific purpose for the group and there is context that could be used for advertising.  It’s true that targeted ads could be found based on what you have on your profile but this would be a complex mission and one that I’m not convinced would even bring real results.

The E-commerce Times article talks about people recommending products to each other – effectively taking word of mouth with e-commerce.  You then reap the rewards of promoting these products or services.  Is it just me or does that almost seem like that scene from the Truman Show when he’s at home with his wife suspecting all is not what it seems and she keeps dropping adverts into conversation?  Social networks need a better business/advertising model but is tarnishing every word we say by potentially trying to make a few quid out of our social network wrong?

On the other hand, the post at Publishing 2.0 is pretty sound, talking about Facebook’s precarious situation with being open.  While they refer directly to OpenSocial, this could apply to the DataPortability group or the Diso project or any number of other collaborations to encourage freedom of access to our ‘social graph’.  I think it’s true what they’re saying; if you forget for a moment that all your friends might be using it and that you could go anywhere, there’s not enough differentiating features on Facebook.  Is that why it’s afraid to open up?

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26th March, 2008