Why is it that so many companies are still struggling to create vibrant online communities? For every Threadless or Ideastorm, there are literally thousands of failed attempts at community-creation. What are so many companies missing?
Facebook pages can be quite a dynamic location for your brand and now there is a growing push towards monetizing pages from within Facebook. By utilizing shopping cart software built exclusively for Facebook, retailers can now sell products right on their Facebook pages – no need for users to ever exit Facebook.com. These e-commerce platforms are still quite new, and users should be aware of the eventual fixes and potential upgrades that they will have to prepare for when implementing. However, for those with large fan presences, these e-commerce platforms can be extremely beneficial.
Fueled by the music industry's ongoing turmoils and, finally, books going digital at a very rapid pace, there is a lot of debate on how to deal with the fact that many people habitually share i.e. redistribute digital content without any of the upstream users making their own payment. How can you monetize content when the copy is free? This question is a key issue across the board, whether it's in music, eBooks, news, publishing, TV or movies. The fear is, of course, that once a digital item has been purchased by one person it can be easily forwarded to anyone else if it is in an open format, thus seriously reducing the possibility that someone else will actually pay real $ for it, as well (of course, the same is true for supposedly locked or protected digital content as well - it just takes a bit longer). No more control over distribution = no more money. Right?
Almost three years ago, I wrote a piece on Facebook's monetization strategy. At that time, Facebook was rumored to be valued at $10 billion with revenues of approximately $150 million--a level that clearly did not justify the valuation. Since then, Facebook has executed well and built up real, sustainable revenue models around its application developer network. I cannot help thinking, though, that my strategy advice to the company from three years back still remains valid. So, here it is again, folks. Listen up!
It has become a popular game, even among investors who should know better, to dismiss Twitter based on lack of a business model. But there is a difference between not generating income and lack of a business model. I believe that, in just a few short months, Twitter will show the world that not only do they have a business model, but that theirs is the most sophisticated around. As the founders have admitted, they did not necessarily plan out their success. But the result of their outside funding and considerable valuation is that they have been free to watch and learn what might be possible. Most publishers talk about the two common monetization streams — advertising and subscribers — as though there are no other options. As many have seen over the last year, dependence upon advertising is a slippery slope in a downturn.
While producing information costs money, information as such doesn’t necessarily carry monetary value; it mostly carries intellectual, social, artistic, practical value. And that’s why, historically, news has been commercially, publicly, politically and privately subsidized. That information is not necessarily connected to a physical good (paper) or a concrete service (the delivery), or a limited quantity anymore, making it difficult to measure its price. We have difficulties spending money for digital information because at the end of the transaction we neither save time nor do we hold anything concrete or limited in our hands. It feels like buying air.
At the Real-Time Stream event in Redwood City, California organized by TechCrunch, industry pioneers and pundits discussed the state and future of the Real-Time Web also increasingly referred to as the “now” Web.
Founded in late 2004, social news site Digg helped define Web 2.0 at the outset and made a celebrity of co-founder Kevin Rose. It has inspired a host of imitators and quite a lot of speculation over when or how it would become profitable and if or when it would be acquired. Now the site is launching Digg Ads, its bid to move away from static banners and apply the social nature of the site to advertising.
Lately, I've been thinking a lot about the utility of ad placement on social media sites, and whether it's the most enlightened way to monetize services like Facebook or Twitter. I'd posit that there are two broad, and somewhat mutually-exclusive schools of thought on the subject: one looking forward, and the other back.