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Can $20M Investment Help hi5′s Social Network Compete?

hi5 may not be high up on your social networking radar – it barely registers a blip on mine - but that might change with the company receiving $20 million in its first round of venture capital.

According to Om Malik:

Hi5, a San Francisco-based social networking start-up is said to have raised about $20 million in its latest round of funding. The VC firm involved in this round of funding is said to be Mohr Davidow Ventures…The company co-founded by Ramu Yalamanchi, started out as a social-network-plus matrimonial site targeting the Indian diaspora, but later morphed into a social network, and since then has gained popularity in some Latin American countries, Mongolia, Tunisia and Romania.

Facebook Considering an Offline Version?

Facebook has acquired Sequoia Capital-back Parakey and everyone’s speculating what they plan to do with the new company. Om Malik suspects Facebook might be interested in providing an offline version of the social networking site.

While it hasn?t disclosed exactly what Parakey is doing, previously published reports hint that the company was working on technologies that would allow offline access to web applications. It wouldn?t be a surprise if Facebook made an off-line version of its social service.

Meanwhile both Robert Scoble and Jeremiah Owyang are concerned that Facebook is a black hole of data – it all goes in, but doesn’t come out. Is it a surprise?

How Social Networks Can Improve Product Testing

By Roderick Ioerger.

Social Shopping has already become a popular phenomenon with a number of sites out there promoting the experience. But leveraging these communities for product testing still seems to be far behind where it should be. The availability of willing product testers has never been higher and the ability to locate just the right demographics has never been easier thanks to the copious amounts of information that social networks provide about their users.

Have social networks created the nirvana for product test marketing? With the ability to create a social network of almost any demographic and be able to quickly and easily grow or shrink the size of the network to have precisely the desired mix of individuals, have social networks created the ultimate product testing ground?

Facebook Users into Text Messaging

Find your potential customers where they are now: text messaging. Greg Sterling initiated a straw poll on Facebook last night. He reported his findings on Local Mobile Search:

  • I just make calls: 10%
  • I mainly text message people: 9%
  • I call and text message people: 68%
  • I call, text and surf the mobile Internet: 14%

The gender and age breakdown was as follows:

  • Female: 91% — this is interesting
  • Male: 9%
  • 13-17: 40%
  • 8-24: 55% — the core demographic of Facebook [if you want to be technical, less than 30% of Facebook is in this group; the largest age demographic on Facebook is the "35+" category, with nearly 40% of its unique visitors, like we reported last week]
  • 25-34: 4%

Facebook Poised to Overtake MySpace in the UK?

Hitwise’s Heather Hopkins has analyzed the search frequencies for “facebook” and the data suggests the social network could soon overtake MySpace in the UK.

Here’s how the search numbers for “facebook”,”myspace” and “bebo” look:

Bebo is still kicking-butt, but you can see Facebook has overtaken MySpace. Now let’s look at actual market share in the UK.

 

Both Bebo and MySpace are losing steam. Meanwhile, Facebook continues to grow its audience.

Any predictions on if and when Facebook will trump MySpace?

Make Money from Facebook Thanks to SocialMedia

With all of the recent Facebook talk, you’re probably still trying to figure out how you can use the social network to promote you business. I can hear you now: “I know it’s popular Andy, but how can I use Facebook to promote my business?” ~ spooky, huh?

Well, SocialMedia wants to help you develop and launch widgets for Facebook. Not just any old widget, but ones that become very popular AND make you money at the same time.

As Inside Facebook explains

They will bring your app in house onto their servers, sell your ad inventory, and help you bake sponsored features into your application. The price? A hefty 50% commission, but hey, better than nothing if you?re a lone developer without cash to spend on servers.

The Effects of Social Media on the Top 100 Brands

As some of you know – and now all of you know – I’m writing a book on online reputation management and a big part of that is about utilizing social media. So, I’m excited to share with you Immediate Future’s “The Top 100 Brands in Social Media” study of which brands are most benefiting from social media.

The study looked at the Interbrand Top 100 global brands for 2006 and then reviewed each for their involvement in social media channels such as:

  • The “blogosphere” as a whole
  • Social networks Bebo and MySpace
  • Video sharing site YouTube
  • Photo sharing sites Flickr and Photobucket
  • Social bookmarking sites del.icio.us and ma.gnolia 
  • Social editorial site Digg

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