Shifting to “Open” Strategies

by Jay Deragon on 12/13/2007

Shifting to “Open” StrategiesWhen Google announce OpenSocial the spin was about how many of the existing major network players were joining their OpenSocial Alliance. That was within the last sixty days. This week we see the same players who where paraded as “collaborative partners with the OpenSocial Alliance” launching their own open code initiatives.

The stream of announcement played like Christmas music over the media wires: LinkedIn Opens ‘Back End’ To BusinessWeek, Other Web Publishers, Bebo Launches Platform, Aligns with Facebook and the bigger announcement was that Facebook to let other sites access platform code

So it appears that those who at first seem to be teaming up with Google have quickly adopted the same “open” strategy. There have been numerous claims that Google announced OpenSocial before the platform was capable of integrating collaborative platform applications and there has been doubt that it would live up to all it claimed to be. Facebooks move to let other sites access their platform code trumps OpenSocial since Facebooks code is live, working and serving over 50 million users.  Linkedin, Bebo and others appear to be simply riding the wave and opening their platforms to outside applications as what seems to be a “me to” strategy to insure that their subscribers don’t migrate to other platforms and a response to the markets demand for add on functions and features to enable these networks to be more robust.

The Voice of the User is getting stronger

Facebooks success has been largely driven by the applications provided by the independent developers. Users from multiple market segments can find numerous applications they find useful for whatever purposes. We’ve been examine and cataloging useful business applications and to date there are 14 applications unique to Facebook that serve business purposes (we’ll report on these separately)

Linkedin users have been screaming for more applications aimed at enabling business collaboration and functionality (you can pick up these threads of user discussions in numerous Linkedin centric forums on Yahoo Groups).

Facebooks response to the shift to “open was “We’re glad to see Bebo take advantage of the work we’ve put into designing and building a complete, usable platform,” a statement from Facebook said of its would-be rival. “Having similar platforms across multiple social sites is good for everyone: developers get more reach for their applications, social sites get more people developing for their site, and users have better experiences no matter where they are on the Web.”But the Facebook release also stressed that this is not any kind of special alliance. “No, this is not a collaboration or partnership with Bebo,” the statement reminded speculative readers. “A core Facebook principle is openness and access for everyone, so we’ve decided to enable any social sites to model their own platforms after Facebook Platform.”

Note how Facebook is positioning itself against Google’s strategy of networks joining their OpenSocial Alliance? Facebook is playing on network operators desire and need to keep their independence while enabling them to have access to features and functions that would benefit their users. Key word, benefit users

Whether it be Google, Facebook, Linkedin, Bebo or any other network the most successful strategy will be based on listening to the end user and adding value according to users must be’s, more is better and delivering beyond their expectations. The key to being “open” is one of being able to hear the voice of your customers and respond accordingly.  After all, social networks enable relationships.  A productive relationship is grounded in hearing and responding to the party you aim to serve.  Here is an innovative breakthrough idea….connect and listen to us!

What say you?

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