how to customize myspace

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					Guadarrama & Pastel 1

Franco Guadarrama - A07029977 Alex Pastel - A07026067 Professor Paturi CSE 91

Internet Communities: Got Revenue?
An online social networking community is definitely not one of the newest ideas to hit the market, but the way people communicate through messaging, blogs, videos, and more has definitely had a defining impact on the internet today. These social networking websites offer an interactive, user-submitted network of friends, personal profiles, blogs, groups, photos, music and videos. However, the real question remains: how do the creators of such an innovative idea of social networking receive the money to manage the servers and heavy amounts of hits per day? Although one can easily research the use of search engines and learn immediately that the most relevant pages occur first on the results page, it still does not explain how these websites receive the money necessary to handle the mindnumbing amount of people who visit these pages every day. However, the answer is simple: they do not—at least not directly, anyway. MySpace, a social networking website, is now generating the largest amount of hits in America, representing 4.46 percent of all Internet traffic.3 Regardless of that fact, MySpace contains no products for purchase (although this may be subject to change) and does not receive any direct profit. The secret lies within the advertisements; banners are posted on every page that contain links to other websites with products that are targeted specifically at the youthful generation who are young, gullible, and naïve. MySpace was founded in 2003 by a tiny, computer-knowledgeable group of

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individuals in California. Co-creator Tom Anderson informed friends about it, held enormous MySpace parties, and e-mailed everyone to make it happen. MySpace began to make money by selling ad banners strategically placed atop every page. These ads are seen by 27 million registered MySpace users. The bulk of the users are seventeen to thirty-five years of age, the most highly desired demographic for advertisers. This is specifically keeps MySpace a free community to be used by everyone. MySpace allows you to effortlessly enjoy the technological excitement in which was once only used by the computer-sophisticated. It essentially allows you to build your own multi-media enabled interactive website without requiring one to know even a single line of coding in any way, shape, or form. MySpace allows you to create a free online profile which other users can see—these features include multiple photos, a biography, blogs, e-mail, interest-based groups, video clips, MP3s, your interests, favorite movies, TV shows, books, and even music. The page is all converted into HTML data which Web crawlers then index and search engines will link to. You can then create an online social network by simply clicking on photos of other users and adding them as friends on your friends list. But can a social community such as MySpace make enough money just off of banner ads alone? Steve Mansfield, CEO of social search engine PreFound.com, has been observing MySpace and the rest of the social-networking market; he claims "That [banner advertising] is the least profitable way to advertise as a Web site. You're not able to charge a whole lot of money." The key to monetizing MySpace and getting into the real money, Mansfield states, is by selling sponsored search results. This is known as social search and is different from the algorithmic search found on sites like Google and

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Yahoo. Instead of sending computer crawlers out across the Internet to record the content of every page, social search engines build their catalog of Web pages by having members tag them with searchable keywords. Social search is practical for users because sometimes Web sites often display information that is not relevant to the page title. Social searchers' results also tend to be useful because someone had to take the time to advocate, or tag, the pages included in the results. The more that members increase tagging and searching, the larger the database of Web sites to search and the more likely search results will be pertinent and constructive. So the influence for Mansfield in powering his search engine with a social network such as MySpace is palpable. Swiftly, he would be able to offer searchers significant and helpful results, an invention Google has proven to be invaluable. But the question stands: how will MySpace benefit from social search? Social search can be sold to a social network by using the profile information of the hundred million people in MySpace to influence a search. Since all of their personal information (age, location, interests, etc.) is exposed, a hyper-relevant search based on all that information can be produced. Social network owners can show members addicted to their service contextually related sponsored links next to "hyper-relevant" search results. The money is already there in the social network. Ironically, it just needs to be searched for. Another remarkable Community 2.0 company is Facebook, Inc. Facebook was originally developed for college and university students but has since been made available to anyone to join with an email address that connects them to a shared network, such as their high school, place of employment or geographical region. As of February

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2007, the website had the largest number of registered users among college-focused sites with over 17 million members worldwide, this includes non-college users. Facebook is the number one site for photos, ahead of public sites such as Flickr, with 2.3 million photos uploaded daily, and is the seventh most visited site in the United States, according to comScore's Media Metrix. Facebook is often compared to MySpace, but one significant disparity between the two sites is the level of customization. MySpace allows users to embellish their profiles using HTML and CSS while Facebook only allows plain text and minor customization features to retain a consistent look. Like MySpace, Facebook is free to users and generates revenue from advertising including banner ads and sponsored groups. In an interview at the Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders program, Mark Zuckerberg, the Founder and CEO of Facebook, claimed that their main source of money is having low operating expenses and selling ads through a small sales force. They have been making profit almost since the beginning – except for a few months after Accel‘s investments during which they decided to scale a bit more aggressively. Their traffic and demographic allows them to sell their inventory easily because high school and college students represent a large portion of the webbased users. A third popular social network Community 2.0 website is Xanga.com, Inc. Xanga is a free Web-based service that hosts weblogs, photoblogs, videoblogs, audioblogs, and social networking profiles—much like MySpace and Facebook. Each site is officially called a ‗Xanga Site,‘commonly referred to as a "Xanga.‖ These sites are used largely by teenagers. Users are also allowed to post any number of ―weblog‖ entries per day, and they may post comments on other people's journals, thus allowing for social interaction.

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Users may also customize how their Xanga looks using pre-made templates or custom HTML designs. Xanga sites are most commonly used as personal journals. Just like MySpace and Facebook, Xanga is largely supported by advertising, in the form of banner ads that appear on the top of most pages on Xanga. However, unlike MySpace and Facebook, Xanga also offers two levels of premium subscriptions: Premium and Premium Plus. Members who subscribe to either service receive bonus features, including additional photo storage and monthly uploads. While each of these sites has their own unique ways of generating side revenue, all three of these Community 2.0 companies use ads to generate the majority of their revenue. Community 2.0 companies are usually run by a small handful of people, so their operating expenses are minimal. For our Community 2.0 business, we would combine the revenue generating techniques of MySpace, Facebook, and Xanga to produce a moneymaking machine that takes advantage of its massive user-base. We would utilize the social search technique, sell flyers and gifts (like Facebook), and offer premium subscription packages that offer more storage space. Most importantly, we would have a small operating team and keep our costs as low as possible. We would allow users to use HTML to customize their profile page like MySpace, but have certain restrictions to keep the community looking clean and unified. With time and patience, we could create a super-community flooded with users exchanging data and generating a pool of revenue; we just have to channel that pool correctly.

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Sources 1. http://personalweb.about.com/od/myspacecom/a/whatismyspace.htm 2. http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20051102/1118219_F.shtml 3. http://personalweb.about.com/od/makefriendsonfacebook/a/whatisfacebook.htm 4. http://www.adastro.com/apogee/myspace.html 5. http://www.techcrunch.com/2005/09/07/85-of-college-students-use-facebook/ 6. http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/jun2006/tc20060616_682547. htm 7. http://personalweb.about.com/od/xangacom/a/whatisxanga.htm 8. http://www.paulallen.net/2005/08/23/business-model-for-blogging/ 9. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_network


				
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