Posts Tagged ‘facebook’

Is openess all about monetization?

April 27, 2010

I have been reading in the blogosphere for a while now that the drive for website owners to make their users data open is down to monetization.  This assumes they own the individual users data or have given the individual the privacy controls to make themselves open.  Publishing a website is an open action.  Don’t want to be on the web, don’t launch a website.  OK, others will do it for you but web at heart is all about sharing.  In the dot.com era sharing was built around webpages, and the verb of choice was search, latterly renamed ‘googling’.  As all the webpages could be crawled and indexed (creating value in shared connections between the pages, ie. pagerank) meant that users could search across the web and in exchange for that attention a business model based around advertising, adsense or CPC was made real, as businesses saw the benefit of paying cash for ‘interfering’ in the users attention.  Web2.0 shifted the focus from the page to people.

This throws up a problem according to the Semanticweb blog for CPC advertising in a people centric world,

“1. Help me communicate better with people I already know. Facebook does this well but it is does not monetize well. And there are tons of alternatives – texting/SMS, mobile phone, email and Skype for example.

They go on to extend the case to the situation where there is no need to be mutually connected, i.e. twitter, follow people you don’t know but have an interest in.  In this model the whole system is built with open set as the default and in the case of Twitter a revenue stream for first access to that stream.  Both these business models seem limited and The Semanticweb blog suggests FB solution is,

“Consumers pay by buying stuff. And the social media revolution has reminded us that people buy based on recommendation of friends more than they do from ads (whether traditional or search based). That is intuitively obvious to everybody. What is different is a massively scalable way to deliver those recommendations to vendors selling stuff.”

They point out this is the market where Amazon.com rules.  An e-commerce walled garden of information that via FB ‘like’ button could be distributed across the social web, at least via FB and the developers using its API?  Ironically, we potentially have the case where a dot.com era business model is opened up and made distributed by a web2.0 social garden.  It ‘s progress and it is all heading in the direction of openness.  What about the individual users, is this their vision for web2.0 or are they just happy to follow the web visionaries along until they know what they have let themselves in to?

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filtering social news

April 23, 2010

What are the magic ingredients that brings the best information to us in a social context?  A couple of months ago I presented the whole story on the logic going on behind mepath.com.  This week the development team over at facebook partially presented their model.  The techcrunch blog has a great summary.

EdgeRank is the core metric formed and a news feed is a series of Objects prioritied by edgescore.  This can be summarised in the following equation:

The Sum of all Edges = Ue * We * De

where U is the affinity score between the user and Edge creator, W weight for each edge type, D time discount.

U – is real interesting as it is trying to decide how close you, the reader of the news stream is to author of the object.  Now, FB has a great starting point, they know there is a social connection between you and the author as only friend connections are brought back into a new feeds (OK, slightly more complicated as fan pages etc or app. data may feedback object not authored by a friends ie. like a RT of a non follower on Twitter).   By contrast mepath is given no starting relationship connection, it has to decide that itself and does so based on the lifestyle context of an individual over time.

W – applies a weight based on the type of edge e.g. comment, video post etc.  In effect saying the type of media authored can be biased up or down.  That is real interesting but how these weighting are decided is of even more interest?

D – time discounting.  Real time to later time.  Everyone one wants the latest but just in case we are not logged in 24/7 then we can review top news that ‘holds’ on to some friends post for longer, minimizing the chance you missed important news.  From my thinking on time filtering data, it is a deep and complex science all on its own.  The most important information an individual wants may well have happened in the past and well into the past.

While we can segment and split all we like, the simple objective remains, bring back the best information that is possible to have for the individual.  And increasing the will found and be achieved by understanding both the context it is initiated and understanding the context in which is was authored.

lifestyle interests

April 20, 2010

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.