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									An Introduction into Social Networks
An Introduction into Social Networks
            An Introduction into Social Networks




                            Prepared for
                        Raymundo Marquez
                     Professor, BISM 2100-009
                     Kennesaw State University




                              Prepared by
Brent Austin, Carl Clinkscales, Mark Forsythe, Crystal La-Viscount and
                            Cynthia Lazard
                       Students, BISM 2100-009
                      Kennesaw State University




                           April 28, 2007
                                 Letter of Authorization

                                  Raymundo Marquez
                                Kennesaw State University
                                   1000 Chastain Road
                                  Kennesaw, GA 30144
                                      April 7, 2007

The Sebastian Club
Kennesaw State University
Coles College of Business
BB 150

Dear Students,

The purpose of this assignment is to expose students to emerging technologies and to
create an opportunity for students to utilize their professional written business
communication skills. This formal report will be coordinated with a presentation and an
interactive web page to provide a bundled resource on this semester’s project.

You are being asked to perform a detailed analysis of a product/concept in the area of
Internet Social Networking Websites. Think of how you would answer the question
“Why did Google just spend $1+ billion for YouTube?”

Your Report should include the following Level One Headings:
    Introduction to social networking websites
    Describe three different social networking websites
    Describe three areas of business where social networking websites are being used
      or could be used
    Describe any known issues surrounding these sites and how they are being
      addressed
    A conclusion summarizing the main point of the paper. Suggestions for future
      research and investigation

Use both commercial and academic resource. Where appropriate, you should incorporate
charts, graphs, or other visual aids to illustrate the facts you present both in your report.
Your report must be submitted through WEBCT. (Each student must submit the same
final copy).

Sincerely,

Raymundo Marquez
                                 Letter of Acceptance

                                The Sebastian Club
                              Kennesaw State University
                                 1000 Chastain Road
                                Kennesaw, GA 30144
                                   April 14, 2007

Raymundo Marquez
Kennesaw State University
1000 Chastain Road
Kennesaw, GA 30144

Dear Professor Marquez:

The Sebastian Club is writing to confirm receipt of the given formal report on Internet
social networking websites. We are pleased to inform you that we accept this assignment
and thank you for the opportunity.

Additionally, The Sebastian Club understands and accepts the conditions of the
assignment. We are scheduled to move ahead with the work on April 14, 2007. The
Sebastian Club will have the work completed by April 28, 2007.

The Sebastian Club is extremely excited to move forward with the project. Thank you for
your confidence and support.

Sincerely,

Mark Forsythe

Formal Report Coordinator, The Sebastian Club
                                 Letter of Transmittal

                                 The Sebastian Club
                               Kennesaw State University
                                  1000 Chastain Road
                                 Kennesaw, GA 30144
                                    April 14, 2007

Raymundo Marquez
Kennesaw State University
1000 Chastain Road
Kennesaw, GA 30144

Dear Professor Marquez,

Here is the complete report concerning Internet social networking websites and a detailed
analysis of MySpace.com, Classmates.com and eHarmony.com. This report was
completed through the teamwork of five students from the Business and Information
System class. Each team member was assigned a specific topic to research and complete
a written synopsis. We understand that there are many social networking websites from
which to choose, but we believe these three provide a broad view of their applications
and usage.

Upon completing our research, we understand the background of Internet social
networking websites and their use. We also have addressed the issues surrounding the
different types of Internet websites. Our final conclusion would be these websites provide
a powerful way for people all around the world to interact within a virtual community.

We would like to thank you for entrusting this report to The Sebastian Club. We feel the
information presented will be useful in the training of other Information and Technology
students and staff. We look forward to the potential of working with you again. If you
have any questions, feel free to discuss them with us at your convenience and we will be
pleased to be of further assistance to you.

Sincerely,

Mark Forsythe

Mark Forsythe, Formal Report Coordinator for The Sebastian Club
                              Operating Agreement

   Mission Statement: The Sebastian Club’s mission is to provide the most complete
    and informative student research, report analysis, web designs and formal
    presentation in the field of Internet social networking websites. We hold ourselves
    to the highest academic standards and will produce professional quality materials.
   Purpose: The purpose of this formal report is to perform a detailed analysis of a
    product/concept in the area of Internet social networking websites.
   Decision Making: Decisions by the group will be made with input from all
    members. When members are in disagreement, the Project Manager will be
    responsible for conflict resolutions. Any further disagreement will be taken to the
    Project Manager on a one-on-one basis.
   Meeting Schedule. The Sebastian Club will have three meetings: April 14, April
    21 and April 26. These meetings will also be supplemented by conference calls on
    April 18 and April 25. Additional meetings and/or correspondence may be
    necessary and will be done as needed.
   Work Quality Standard: Each team member is responsible for his or hers own
    work. The Sebastian Club will only produce high quality professional documents.
    Anything less will not be tolerated.
   Non-Performance Contingencies: Each team member is responsible for
    completing all assigned work in a timely manner. Any issues with team member’s
    performance will be address on a one-on-one basis with the Project Manager. If
    the Project Manager feels that the team member cannot comply with the standard
    the team has set, she has the power to review the situation with the Professor and
    precede with any actions she feels necessary.
   Schedule of Deliverables: All work associated with the formal report, web page
    and formal presentation will all be completed prior to the deadline on April 28,
    2007. The team has set goals to have the formal report completed by April 21, the
    web pages completed by April 25 and the presentation on April 28. Any
    adjustments will be made by the Project Manager.
   Team Structure:
        o Project Manager - Cynthia Lazard. Cynthia will be the primary team
            communicator and coordinator. She will participate in each of the three
            team deliverables (Web page, report and presentation) while
            simultaneously coordinating meeting times, communication, and
            assignment submission
        o Web Master - Carl Clinkscales. Carl will coordinate with team members
            on page layout, design and style. He will work with team members to
            create, edit and upload the final pages. He is also aware of all
            requirements and has committed the necessary time to get the websites
            completed
        o Research Coordinator – Brent Austin. Brent will take the lead in the
            research need to complete the formal report. He is well versed in Internet
            and library databases. He is also responsible to check the authenticity of
            the formal report making sure all appropriate attributes, citations, and
            references are noted
o Presentation Coordinator - Crystal La-Viscount. Crystal will be crucial in
  the design and outline for the formal presentation. She will be responsible
  for assigning a role for each team member. She will create any visual aids
  needed for the formal presentation and will set all rehearsal times
o Formal Report Coordinator – Mark Forsythe. Mark will create the
  structure and outline of the report. He will be responsible for assigning
  each team member a section to write and will comply the entire report. He
  is aware of the requirement of the formal report and has committed to
  completing the report within the set deadlines
                           Table of Contents



Letter of Authorization ………………………………………………………………                     iv
Letter of Acceptance …………………………………………………………………                       v
Letter of Transmittal …………………………………………………………………                      vi
Operating Agreement ………………………………………………………………..                       vii
Table of Contents ……………………………………………………………………                         ix
Abstract ………………………………………………………………………………                              x
Introduction ………………………………………………………………………….                           11
A Background: Myspace, Classmates and eHarmony ……………………………….         11
Areas of Use for Internet Social Networking Websites …….……………………….   13
Issues and Solutions …………………………………………………………………                       14
Conclusions ………………………………………………………………………….                            15
References ……………………………………………………………………………                             16
                                       Abstract

This Report explores the Internet social networking websites Myspace.com,
Classmates.com, and eHarmony.com. It covers the areas of business that Internet social
networks are being used. It also investigates known issues concerning these websites and
discusses how these issues are being addressed. It concludes with suggestions concerning
the future of Internet social networks.
                                      Introduction

A transformation is taking place online that is redefining how we interact with each other.
The Internet has seen its highest growth at websites that focus on social networking,
blogging and local information. A recent online traffic survey analysis provided by
ComScore Media ranked the top 50 websites over the past year. Top ranked sites
included Blogger.com, Myspace.com, Wikipedia.org and Cityserach.com. Myspace.com,
Classmates.com and eHarmony.com are examples of Internet social networking web
sites. Social network websites are places where people can meet and exchange
information on the World Wide Web. These interactions provide endless possibilities and
also endless problems when used inappropriately. This report will examine three of these
websites; provide background on their founders and how these websites cover the
expenses of providing these services. Then we will explore the uses and benefits that
these websites provide. Lastly, we will investigate any issues surrounding these websites
and what is being done to solve those problems.



                 A Background: Myspace, Classmates and eHarmony

Myspace.com is a popular interactive web site. It is a user create network of friends that
share information, pictures, video and music. Those who primarily use Myspace.com are
teenagers, college students, celebrities, small business people and those in the music
industry. Myspace.com was founded in July 2003 by Tom Anderson and current
President /CEO Chris DeWolfe. It is partially owned by Intermix Media which was
bought in July 2005 for $508 million by Des Rupert Murdoch’s New Corporation - parent
company of Fox Broadcasting. Myspace.com headquarter is in Beverly Hills, California,
while its parent company, News Corporation, is in New York City. Its staff totals 300
people. Myspace.com is the fifth most popular English language website and the fifth
most popular website in any language, as well as the third most popular website in the
United States. It experiences nearly 80% of visits to online social networking websites.
There are over 100 million accounts being created and over 40 million pages viewed each
month. It is an influential part of contemporary popular culture. Myspace.com generates
revenue through advertisement. It assumes that everyone who visits the site will also see
the advertising and “click” on them. As quoted in Wikipedia, “the more people
occupying the space the more expose they are to the advertising, the greater the potential
revenue.”

E-harmony is a Christian founded, marriage oriented matchmaking website. They offer
services for those seeking companionship and is geared toward those looking for a long-
term relationship. The E-harmony goal is to reduce the divorce rate in America to less
than 10% (right now it’s estimated to be 40-50%). There are about 13 million users. The
ratios are as followed:
                                                                              White 83%
                                 Male 42%                                     Black 6%
                                 Female 58%                                   Hispanic 4%
                                                                              Other 7%




                               Religious 72%                                 Christian 91%
                               Spiritual 21%                                 Jewish 3%
                               Neither 7%                                    Other 6%




Other Findings:
46% have Bachelor Degrees or higher
64% report an income of more than $40,000 a year

Because the perception of finding a soul mate provides more value to the user than just
finding a date, eHarmony.com is able to charge $50 a month verses $20 a month at a
similar web site. With the charges billed to their clients, eHarmony.com is able to
generate its revenue. E-Harmony was co-founded by Dr. Neil Clark Warren, an
evangelical Christian, and his son-in-law, Greg Forgatch who was a commercial real
estate developer. Forgatch is eHarmony.com CEO and president, while Warren is its
Chairman of the Board. It was founded in 2000 with 3 million dollars in bonds and
through individual investors. The company does a great deal of advertising through
television and the internet and requires users to complete a detailed compatibility
questionnaire. It is also promoted through James Dobson’s “Focus on the family” radio
program.

Classmates.com is a social networking website created in 1995 by Randy Conrada who
founded Classmates Online, Inc. The web site helps members connect with and keep in
touch with friends and acquaintances developed throughout their lives, including primary
school, college, work and even The United States military. Classmates.com has more
than 40 million active members. It is free for people to register as a basic member, which
provides their listing in case someone wants to find them. Members may post pictures,
make announcements, put their biographies, read community message boards and get
informed of upcoming class reunions. However, this is another type of membership
called “The Gold member” who pays a fee, this service will also allow members to send
out emails to other members, as well as the use of the website for planning reunions and
events. Classmates.com relies heavily on subscriptions, with a $36 annual rate.
Currently, the site has more than 2 million paying subscribers; however, if you want to
make connection with past acquaintances, Classmates.com provides a low cost solution
that many are willing to pay.



                 Areas of Use for Internet Social Networking Websites

Social networking has bolstered the effectiveness and ease of legal music distribution.
The more exposure that a record label or artist receives typically lead to more sales and
profits. Many record labels, artists, and even stores have joined networks such as
Myspace.com as a means to keep the public up-to-date on their new business ventures.
The public can easily contact the music industry and provide feed back. Many artists can
determine which products or songs are crowd pleasers by how many “hits”, downloads or
“plays” the song gets. The social network is also used to promote album release dates and
tour schedules. Placing information on the site not only gets to many more individuals in
a shorter time, but also costs little to nothing to the artists or company. Most websites can
be maintained with little investment of time or money. New artists, unsigned artists, and
underground-independent artists whose music might have never reached an arena as big
as the World Wide Web benefit largely from social networking sites. On sites such as
Myspace.com they have generators which add friends automatically who, by the click of
a button, now have sampled the unknown artist’s music without overpaying for
advertising, promotion, or pay-offs to radio disc jockeys. The union of the social network
and the music industry is blooming into a very lucrative marriage, as profits and revenues
soar.

Politics, also, benefit largely from the use of social network sites. Interaction and
fraternization of fellow politicians and party members is encouraged. Websites such as
Myspace.com and Facebook make it easy for the public to be connected and informed
about what is going on in their areas. Politicians usually use these sites to recruit voters
for upcoming elections, post petitions for the public to sign, and link websites to where
donations to their campaigns can be made. The Vote or Die campaign, which targeted
unregistered citizens as well as registered voters to get out to the polls during the past
election, used many different social network websites to spread the cause of their mission
and show the results of their efforts. These websites benefit not only the politicians, but
also the public by being able to post relevant laws, changes, town-hall meetings, and
rallies.

Numerous social networks connect individuals with similar training and career goals
together. Companies or businesses can post job listings, available positions, and job
qualifications on their own social network site. By uploading job listings onto a social
network, companies now reach a broader base than the days of posting in local
newspapers or “word of mouth” referrals. Many employers use personal websites of
applicants to help guide them through the hiring process. Posting of personal information
such as interests, age, goals, background, likes and dislikes, helps companies and even
interviewers get a feel of the individual applying for the position before meeting with
them. Classmates.com, which is a social network that connects individuals who attended
the same school, could be very useful for an individual who is a building contractor
looking for an architect to design plans for a new project. Ease of connecting with former
classmates from technical school, medical school or whatever the case may be, can
expedite the process of finding a qualified-trustworthy business partner.



                                   Issues and Solutions

Internet social networking websites do have many advantages and the growth and
popularity of these sites are skyrocketing. That does not mean that all is great and there
are no areas for improvement. Along with technical failures and frustrations, there are
also people using these sites inappropriately. This has caused negative feelings and has
projected a negative light on these websites.

Classmates.com has been known for some of their controversial business practices. It has
a standard auto-renewal membership that is billed at the end of each billing cycle. PC
World Magazine field tested several companies to determine how easy or difficult it was
to cancel their service. Classmates.com was one of the companies that received the worst
rating. They are also known for continuing emailing old members after their
memberships were cancelled. This kind of poor customer service does not reflect a
positive business future for the company. Although the company promises better service,
it remains to be seen if they can properly implement the changes.

Myspace.com is probably one of the most popular websites. This gives the website huge
amount of press both positive and negative. The biggest problem Myspace.com faces is
users that use the web site for improper or illegal activities. It seem like on a daily basis
stories are reported about sexual predators who meet their victims on websites like
Myspace.com. Since there is no way to really determine who is being truthful, people can
be easily take advantaged of by the use of this seemingly friendly website. Other
problems experienced include people posting violent thought or threats on their personal
sites. Myspace.com is in a difficult position of finding the best way to police their
website, while still allowing their users the freedom and accessibility they desire. At this
time there are no known solutions for any of these problems.

E-harmony.com has its own set of challenges to overcome. According to Online Dating
Magazine, eHarmony.com’s most annoying feature is that once you have paid for a
membership you can only communicate with others who have paid their membership.
The “My Matches” screen does not distinguish between matches that are paid members
and those who are inactive members. Other complaints arise from the complex and error
prone cancellation process. This has lead to many undesirable credit charges to member’s
accounts once they cancel their membership. The other common complaint revolves
around the personal information questionnaire. Potential applicants can spend up to an
hour answering the 400 questions only to learn that eHarmony.com cannot provide the
service. A study finds that over 20% of all applicants are disqualified from the service for
one reason or another. E-harmony states that they believe in the service they provide and
understand that they cannot make everyone happy in this area of social interaction.



                                        Conclusion

In conclusion we have explored these Internet social networking websites. We have
examined the background of Myspace.com, Classmates.com and eHarmony.com and the
different ways these websites gain their revenue. We have explored the uses of these
types of websites and their power to connect people. We have investigated some issues
surrounding the websites and highlighted some negative consequences from such
uncontrollable social interaction. Our final analysis is that these websites are a new
application of the ever expanding electronic age in which we all reside. We see no reason
that this will be just a temporary trend but will be a starting point for things to come. The
websites offer the ability for large groups of people to easily interact and share
information over many different platforms, at the same time, from one location. So why
did Google pay all that money for YouTube? Well, sites like YouTube attract a large
volume of people, and we have learned that the more people occupying the space, the
more exposed they are to the advertising, thus the greater potential for earning revenue.
                                       References


Wikipedia.com – “Myspace.com”, “E-Harmony”, “Classmates.com”

Baseline, “Inside myspace.com” January 16, 2007

“You must be logged in to do that!” Myspace & Control – Fred Scharmen, February –
May 2006 Arch 752b:sit

“Social Sites becoming too much of a good thing, Many folks burning out on online
sharing.” Lee, Ellen. San Francisco Chronicle. Nov.2,2006 pg.A1

eHarmony Case Study: Offline, “Advertising the key to scale” written by Nisan Gabbay,
posted on December 10, 2006

CNET News.com, Perspective: “Dot-com content that works?” by Tom Tauli, published
April 18, 2002

iMedia Connection- "Service Kudos for Classmate.com" by Eunice Park

“Space for everyone Social networking websites, once purely teen territory, attract all
ages.” Johnson, Carolyn. The Boston Globe, 3rd Edition. Mar.7, 2007 pg.A1

WritersWeekly- "School Days" by C. Hope Clark October 04, 2006

“MAP: Welcome to the Blogosphere.” Ornes, Stephan. Discover, May 2007, Vol 28
Issue 5, pg.22

Answer.com- "eHarmony"

Parentsconnect- "eHarmony” by Nosey Bella Jun 22, 2006

MSNBC- "Why parents must mind MySpace" by Rob Stafford April 2006

Internet 101-"Why be concerned about myspace.com and what to do if you have a
problem”

“Digital Suburbia.” Business Week Online. 4/16/2007, pg.20

								
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