My Space, with 70 million visitors, has become the digital equivalent of hanging out at the mall for today’s teens, who load the site with photos, news about music groups and detailed profiles of their likes and dislikes.
Other social network sites include Facebook, geared to college students, Linked In, aimed at professionals, and Xanga, a blog-based community site.
“There is a fad or a fashion component to all these networks. The classic example, he suggests, is Friendster, which burst onto the Internet in 2003 and soon had 20 million visitors. Then, if another community shows up that has better functionality in some way, there can be a mass migration.” Wharton marketing professor Peter Fader agrees that social network sites are powerful, but mercurial, particularly since most are aimed at teenagers and young adults. Look how many of these have come along and how many were touted as the next big thing.
If a classic advertising or subscription revenue model is used, he says, low-cost social network sites could be highly profitable.
Yahoo must buy or develop content for its site to attract advertisers and Google has to invest in its search capabilities, Lodish notes.
Facebook just received an additional $25 million in venture capital.
Both companies are planning to extend their reach beyond the computer screen to cell phones.
” He points to Orkut, an invitation-only service introduced by Google in 2004 that is little known in the United States, but wildly popular in Brazil, where more than 70% of its users are based.
Indeed, Orkut has made Portugese a second language in its interface. S., where the service is domiciled, nobody’s even heard of Orkut.
“We model people’s real lives at their individual schools in a virtual space that enables them to exchange information about themselves.
We are not focused on meeting new people, dating or anything like that.
“I have no problem with betting on a crapshoot, but you want to hedge your bets carefully and accept the downside in exchange for what could be an incredible upside.