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Google Hinting at Its Own Social Network?

Unlike our good friend Steve, Eric Schmidt is one of the “true believers” in social networking. Perhaps he’s just one of the “younger people” (or younger at heart people) that Ballmer said were so absorbed in the faddish nature of social networking, even though he is a couple months older than Ballmer.

Whatever the case, Schmidt is praising the power and popularity of social networks—and dropping hints about a Google social network in front of the New York Times.

Mr. Schmidt did say that over the next year, Google is planning to use information it has about the connections between its users, something techies call the “social graph,” to improve searches and other Google services.

Platform Possibilities: Bebo, But Not MySpace

More platform rumors are flying this week. After the success of Facebook’s platform, it seems like everyone and their social network is scrambling to get their own version out. We’ve already seen rumors about Google’s and MySpace’s intentions. Today, the MySpace rumors are called into question and Bebo rumors start.

Bebo logoBebo: Assuring Its Dominance
Read/Write Web reports from “a couple reliable sources” and “a Bebo investor” that the most popular social networking site in the UK, Bebo, is working on a developer platform, which it plans to call a “platform API.” RWW notes that with the rumored launches, the “‘platform wars’ will be well and truly on.”

A Study of Trust Online

Nielsen’s recent survey on trust reiterated what we all know – people trust each other more than they trust advertising. Word of mouth advertising is most trusted way to find out about products, especially across much of Asia Pacific. The survey of 26,486 internet users covered 47 markets around the world. Respondents were polled on the trust they have in thirteen different types of advertising – from conventional newspaper and television ads to branded web sites and consumer-generated content.

The internet has shrunk the world but people still rely on people they know and are influenced by their local culture. Trust of different advertising mediums from newspapers to television, magazines and radio varies across nationalities. Who trusts advertising most? Filipinos and Brazilians (67%) were found to be the most trusting of all forms of advertising. Who has the lowest levels of trust? Danes (28%), Italians (32%), Lithuanians (34%) and Germans (35%).

Facebook Traffic Declines – Abandon Ship or Deja Vu?

We have good news for Om Malik. The new media guru is a little concerned about Facebook’s recent decline in traffic.

I just got the spread sheet and there seems to be a 9.3% decline in their unique visitors from 33.75 million in August 2007 to 30.6 million in September 2007…Why would that happen to both Facebook ahead of back-to-school season? It just doesn?t make any sense! Unless of course, the unthinkable is happening.

Here’s Malik’s chart…


Scary, huh?

But fear not Om! The same thing happened last year and Facebook went on to recover quite nicely.


MySpace Platform to Rival Facebook’s?

TechCrunch is sharing more developer platform rumors this week. Last month, Michael Arrington predicted a set of new APIs from Google which will lead to a “Google Platform,” analogous to Facebook’s (only more open, of course). Now he says that MySpace is planning its own developer platform.

The MySpace Platform would work very much like Facebook’s. As TechCrunch puts it, the platform:

will essentially be a set of APIs and a new markup language that will allow third party developers to create applications that run within MySpace. Developers will be able to include Flash applets, iFrame elements and Javascript snippets in their applications, and access most of the core MySpace resources (profile information, friend list, activity history, etc.). Applications will need to be hosted on MySpace servers.

MySpace and Facebook – We Can Co-Exist

Social networking is the buzz for online marketing but it’s getting more and more crowded and competitive all the time. MySpace is still one of the Internet’s biggest social-networking sites. They have 200 million registered profiles and 100 million unique users a month.

A poll conducted by eMarketer on March 2, 2007, showed that Facebook was ahead when in the 17-25 year old age bracket. Facebook was the most viewed site among all respondents. MySpace focuses on the 18-34 age group.

Facebook is getting new profiles at a rate of 150,000 a day. Worldwide Facebook is growing at a phenomenal rate:
Worldwide daily visits to MySpace and Facebook, according to Comscore (June 2007) :
MySpace: 28,786 72% growth
Facebook: 14,917 299% growth

eBay Builds Social Networking into Site

Everyone wants a social network. Now eBay is creating online community with their new My Neighborhoods feature. eBay wants to facilitate more interaction between buyers and sellers. There are more than 600 neighborhoods already.

This is a smart way to add more user-generated content instead of just ecommerce to the site. It also gives the community more reasons to stay on the site. The most popular neighborhood is the one for coffee lovers with 146 members. The next popular neighborhood is about jewelry. People can post photos, reviews, and tips.

The interface is intuitive and has a much more web 2.0 feel to it. However, I keep thinking that the scrolling photos are a video. I hope they do add video, if even just to introduce the concept or the neighborhood. If your favorite topic isn’t there, you can request a new neighborhood. When you join a neighborhood, you’ll see a My Neighborhoods link show up in your My eBay section.