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Facebook Dangles $85M for Chinese Foothold

image Have you noticed how whenever we discuss Friendster these days, we can’t help point out that most of its traffic comes from Asia? Just about everyone mentions this in a negative kind of way–as if the audience isn’t valuable. Well, there must be some value in the Asian market because Facebook reportedly offered $85 million to buy it’s largest Chinese peer, Zhanzuo.com.

According to the Times

A spokeswoman told The Times that Jack Zhang, Zhanzuo’s chief executive, and Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook founder, were acquainted but this did not mean that they intended to reach a deal – for the moment. She added, however, that “there could be more information by the end of the month”.

Trade Shows Go Virtual

Companies like IBM, Cisco, and others are taking their trade shows and conferences virtual. Some, like IBM have used the virtual world Second Life for such events, but virtual trade shows take it a step further. Also, the events are more professional and created for a business environment – there are no actual avatars. However, you can upload a picture, chat with booth representatives, and attend sessions.

Businesses of all sizes are trying out the concept. According to Tradeshow Week magazine, mid-to-large-sized companies spend about $550,000 every year on trade shows.

The Fastest-Growing Social Network

Quick, what’s the fastest-growing social network over the last year?

MySpace? Nope. Facebook? Nope. Bebo? Now, let’s be serious. According to Nielsen Online (and Fortune), it’s . . . LinkedIn.

Yep, the all-business-no-fun-actually-used-for-networking-instead-of-popularity-contests social network is the fastest growing social network out there. Of course, that’s in large part due to the fact that it’s also quite small.

Compare these stats:

Network Growth rate
LinkedIn 189%
Club Penguin 157%
Facebook 125%
Windows Live Spaces 32%
MySpace 19%

Source: Nielsen Online

versus these:

Network Uniques Oct 2007
(millions)
Increased uniques
Oct 2007 vs Oct 2006
(millions)
Facebook 19.5 10.8
MySpace 58.8 9.3
LinkedIn 4.9 3.2
Windows Live Spaces 10.3 2.5

Yahoo Mail, iGoogle to Become Social Networks?

Yahoo has long realized that their strength laid in their already-strong web properties: their portal and their email service. Two months ago, we reported that Yahoo Mail, still one of the top free Web-based email programs, could be leveraged as a social networking platform of some sort. Susan Decker, President of Yahoo, said in July that the service was “one of the Web’s largest dormant social networks and one that we are aggressively pursuing ways to activate.”

This week, the New York Times reports that they’ll be doing just that—and not only them, but Google, too. Google’s plans are pretty sketchy (or secret) at this point:

Nonprofits Outpace Businesses on Social Media

Charities are often more savvy than businesses when it comes to using social media – especially blogging. The Center for Marketing Research looked at the top 200 largest US charities as defined by Forbes Magazine. They found that seventy-five percent of the charities are using some form of social media.

Social media specifically refers to blogging, podcasting, using message boards, social networking, video blogging and wikis. 46% of the charities report that social media is a key part of the organizations fund raising efforts (though they do not measure success by numbers – they seem to use the tools more for branding purposes).

Social media is an effective way to increase awareness of their missions and helps them connect with their constituencies. The research did not trace how this affected donations because the organizations mainly used it to build community and foster their online presence.

Free Wall Street Journal Online Access Coming

Rupert Murdoch plans to make WSJ.com free to increase readership and generate far more in advertising. Right now the site gets 1 million viewers and Murdoch hopes to see it go to 15 million. For now a subscription just to the online edition is $79 for a year.

The site is has already added social media – or at least one element – along with RSS feeds. You can submit stories to Digg via the “Digg This” link at the bottom of each story. And you’ll be able to read the entire article, free and with advertising, when it’s linked from Digg.

Add Music and Video to your Bebo Profile

Social networking site Bebo has its own “Open Media” platform for music and video content. If you’re a member of Bebo you can create your own profile but now you can put video and your favorite music on it. Not audio files though (which someone should develop). Media companies can also create their own profiles.

When anyone says social networking profile I can’t help myself but translate that into free publicity for me and my company (or clients). I’ve been asked how I do my reputation management online, and there’s one of my secrets. It doesn’t take long to create profiles of yourself everywhere and focus on a few social networking sites that are worth a deeper time investment. Because they are time investments. But they are also ways to get links and exposure online. And the sites like Bebo get unique content. I’d think this would be especially big for small companies (local real estate agents, etc) who may not even have a web site or much competition online.