Sorting through the Hype

by Jay Deragon on 11/08/2007

Comparative functionsAs the social web screams ahead at warp speed and the media spins their opinions on new products, i.e. OpenSocial and Facebook Ads, it becomes difficult to sort through the facts from the fiction.

Fundamentally the perspectives on new products and strategic moves from the BIG should be viewed from the vantage point of increased utility for the users and positioning by the operators. Not much has been said about user perspectives on the recent moves by the BIG but like everyone else we have an opinion.

Googles Move

The blogosphere is full of opinions about Googles OpenSocial, both good and bad. The positive spin is coming from the network partners participating in the initiative. The negative spin is coming from the developers, the small, trying to capture the promise by getting their apps into the proposed OpenSocial “containers“. The OpenSocial initiative has yet to be adopted by the mass of end users so one cannot ascertain whether the promise of utility and design truly brings value to the customer.

OpenSocial will need to demonstrate value throughout the supply chain of developers and platform operators but last but not least to the end users. OpenSocial will need to accelerate its efforts before it will be able to create positive momentum in a market in warp speed. Google’s moves for the remainder of this year will determine if they can deliver on a promise to operators, developers and the ultimate decision makers, the users.

Facebooks Move

At the click of a mouse Facebook then releases its Facebook SocialAd Page initiative. Again the flurry of media explodes with opinions but from a different vantage point of utility and design aimed both at advertisers and users. A design by the way that we suggested in our post of months ago titled The Shift for Marketers”.

Facebook SocialAds are aimed at distinctively different strategy than the OpenSocial initiative. OpenSocial aims at the utility of open connectivity across multiple networks while Facebooks Social Ad initiative aims at shifting the utility of user affinity to brands and targeting to those affinities.

Facebook just upped the value of advertisers on its platform thus creating more stickiness at higher advertising rates than say Google Ads. As long as Facebook maintains its growth in users and developers continue to release creative applications then Facebook will continue to lead in adoption and usage while enhancing their revenue growth. A sound strategy that maximizes their market value and positioning. Will the Facebook SocialAd strategy work? Initial response from advertisers and users indicate a strong yes.

The small moves

In the middle of all these BIG moves and announcements we’ve also been following a small but significant move called Business 3.0. First a disclosure. We tend to favor the small over the BIG in our opinions because generally speaking the small are more creative, nimble, trustworthy and entrepreneurial than the BIG.

The chart at the top of this post compares functions and features of OpenSocial, Facebook SocialAds and Business 3.0. The comparisons were based on what we know of each offering, both the products initial launch functions and promised features soon the be released.

In sorting through all the media hype over the moves of the big we’ve tried to focus our attention on the question from the end users perspective. How does this bring users value? From a business perspective what is the utility and design of a product?

We believe these are the drivers of success regardless of whether they come from the BIG or the small. By focusing on these fundamentals it helps sort through all the hype and spin in a world full of opinions. Of course this post and the accompanying chart is our opinion but an opinion based on data, logic and a slant towards the small vs. the BIG. What is your opinion?

What say you?

{ 1 comment }

Carter Smith November 9, 2007 at 11:08 am

I think the perspective we take is what determines how important the developments are to us. Some think that social networking is a passing fad. They are likely the same people (or related to those) who five years ago swore they would never have a mobile phone or a computer, and now have a combination of the two. Businesses are looking at the social networking space, governments are checking it out, and hundreds of thousands are making millions of visits to their own private network.

So how do we see this space?

I would suggest looking at it like fast-food burger restaurants. Back in the day, the top three were McDonalds, Burger King, and Wendy’s. Dave never posted the billions of burgers he had ever sold, nor did he ever have a jingle that reminded you there were choices, but he seems to have done ok for himself! Then along came the pizza places, and the chicken places, and then the taco places and the rest of them. We have fast food everything, and where is McDonalds?

So how did the fast-food phenomenon start? We were all minding our business, eating 2-3 meals a day, and doing just fine. Then along came someone offering more convenience. They promised us quicker, consistently processed food and provided disposable containers so we didn’t have to do the dishes. The next thing you know, we are all waiting in line around a building sniffing the fumes of the car in fronto of us.

There are people who will never eat in a McDonalds, but they will keep a handful of the others in business. So it is, and will be, with social networks.

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