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Facebook Redesigns Homepage

Last night, my husband was logging in to Facebook when he noticed something was different. He asked me if I’d seen this before:

new facebook homepage

Nope. Conspicuously absent from the redesign, of course, is the phrase “social utility,” Facebook’s high-falutin’ euphemism for “social network.” (I swear I noticed that before I read the TechCrunch post, too.)

I’m guessing the new homepage is not the harbinger of major changes at Facebook—rather, it’s probably the last step in the extremely long roll out of their latest redesign.

It looks cooler, it matches with the new interior design better, and it loses the pretentious autonym—that is, it explains what it’s for more simply. Not bad.

Consumers Want Businesses on Social Networks

I have to say that this one came as a bit of a shocker for me: apparently 93% of American consumers want businesses on social media sites, according to the aptly-named 2008 Cone Business in Social Media Study. Odd, I thought when most Facebook users rebelled against Beacon, this was exactly what they didn’t want.

When asked whether businesses should interact with consumers on social media sites, 85% said yes (I guess the other 8% either subscribed to a “seen and not heard” school of thought).

Specifically, Americans believe:

  • Companies should use social networks to solve my problems (43%)

  • Companies should solicit feedback on their products and services (41%)

  • Companies should develop new ways for consumers to interact with their brand (37%)

Facebook Grows 50%; MySpace Still #1; Social Networking Traffic Declines 17% Overall

OK, Facebook, what do you want first? The good news, or the bad news?

The good news? Well, the good news is that, according to Hitwise, you’ve grown your US share of social networking sites by a massive 50%, in the past year. w00t!

Now for the bad news. MySpace still has a 67.54% market share, compared to your relatively meager 20.56% slice.

Oh, and there’s some bad, bad news. Total traffic to social networking sites declined 17% year-over-year. I guess there’s just only so much sheep-throwing and whale-failing we can handle.

Hey, don’t shoot the messenger! And, even if you do want to shoot the messenger, it’s Hitwise–not this Pilgrim.

MySpace Music Launches

myspace music logoIncredible, I know, but for the third time in two days, MySpace does something newsworthy. Today, they topped them all, and they just might have revolutionized music online—little, if any, exaggeration.

How do you listen to music online now? A dollar a download? A limited number of song plays a month? A stream of music with a limited number of “skip this track”s? And your music videos—YouTube, maybe even bootlegs, right?

Just shy of six months after the announcement of an iTunes rival, MySpace Music launches, falling into none of the above categories. Add tracks to your profile, public, and private playlists and play them as many times as you want for free. (Okay, the dollar download, this time from Amazon, is still in effect.)

Aloha Social Media Summit is Almost Here; Are You Registered?

How much do you think it would cost to get some one-on-one training with Om Malik? Biz Stone? Peter Shankman? Susan Bratton? I can tell you that, for two days of consulting, my normal rate would be at least five figures–so I suspect the aforementioned gurus would be even more.

Now, how would you like to get access to all of the above, and Charlene Li, Roxanne Darling, and Dave Taylor for just $2500? What if I threw in a $500 discount?

We still have seats remaining for the upcoming Aloha Social Media Summit, to be held in Boulder, CO, October 6-7. The first Aloha Summit (held in Hawaii, hence the name) was a huge success and you can view video testimonials below.

DIY Ad Targeting from MySpace

myspace diy ad targeting programYet another way for a social network to monetize itself—MySpace is launching a do-it-yourself ad targeting program. Currently in beta at advertise.myspace.com, the program is designed to help MySpace advertisers promote their business or their music.

The ad program runs on a CPC basis with a minimum $0.25 bid ($25 campaign minimum). The program enables advertisers to target MySpace users based on gender, age, region, city/state, and interests. Naturally, as there’s nothing new under the sun, this brings to mind Facebook’s own ad targeting program. Indeed, this may not be terribly different, other than the fact that MySpace has more users (yes, still).

According to Social Times, the banner ads can be either 728×90 or 300×250 and MySpace provides several templates if you don’t have one of your own. The interest-based targeting is somewhat limited:

Rumor: eBay Selling StumbleUpon

It’s like when one of those Hollywood couples who you thought would really last breaks up. Okay, no, not really. It’s more like when one of those Hollywood couples who you thought “WHAT? Why? That’s gotta be Photoshopped” breaks up. After 16 months of marriage, eBay is rumored to be looking for buyers for the popular social discovery service StumbleUpon.

The reports come from TechCrunch‘s venerable sources that eBay is in touch with Deutsche Bank to find a buyer. So far, TC’s sources have been right at each step of the way, predicting not only the acquisition in April 2007 well before eBay’s then-CEO Meg Whitman would announce it (she denied it), but the exact date of the $75M acquisition announcement the following month.