lifestyle interests

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The thinking guys over at Techcrunch authored  a post entitled, Facebook To Twitter: Back Off, We Own People’s Interests today.  They talk in terms of a ‘battle line’ being made in the cyber sands over the interests of individuals.  Why is it worth a battle? “Whoever knows what your interests are right now and can package them up for advertisers has the chance to make a lot of money.” the articles states.  I am always reminded to start the economic story with the individual, as the article does in talking about the how ‘interest’ posts will be feedback into a FB news stream of each FB user.  Yes, it is great to connect individuals around interest, it is good to be open and to share, the mantra states.  Create value for individuals then you have an opportunity to share in some of it.

The opportunity to view pictures, videos or to read thoughts or feedback from individuals that share a common interest with you, even though you don’t know them through your existing friends (social) network is a great service.  The semantic web community has used ‘interests’ as the starting point to demonstrate their wears.  Twine now part of Evri.com made a spoof video on what exactly ‘interests’ were?  I guess we all know now.  Why have the semantic search businesses used the ‘interests’ area as the place to enter the market?  When you expand the sources of inputs back into an individuals news or activity stream then the potential volume of posts from the interest community can become vast very quickly, any benefits from connection can be quickly lot in the hose pipe of new updates.  Also, an ‘interest’ is a board category, take skiing, down hill moguls, in Scotland or the Alps.  Yes, Interest can be setup or tagged with increasing granularity but then you have a lot of interest to match yourself too.  OK, algorithms can be crunch behind the scene to help discovery.  I think the semantic and next generation search or filtering startups are just saying, we will do that from source.

Back to the economic value to the individual, if ‘interests’ information help them find or go to or buy a better ski resort, accommodation or pair of new skis then the businesses supporting them on that outcome will get to share in the economic value spent.  Advertising income is a real source of income online, main stay for google et al but I am not sure the best or maximum value is being collected.  Advertising is no small market but I think we as an industry are leaving too much value on the table.  How much extra value is there to be had?  All the costs incurred in advertising, selling, marketing, development, research and IT/Online.  Individuals sit at the top of that food chain, they will benefit the most and those best supporting them will have the opportunity profit well.

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