Malik: Facebook Connect is better than Colin Farrell?


I can’t help but think Om Malik is under some kind of Facebook conference spell when he first criticizes their presentation as too stylish (comparing Mark Zuckerberg to that bastion of style and wit Colin Farrell = OUCH!) but then gushes that Facebook Connect is going to be the big winner in terms of bringing web-wide social functionality.

Malik notes:
In addition to offering a simple authentication method, FC allows granular social interactions to be embedded in non-Facebook services. If Facebook can work with its partners to build interesting use-case scenarios that go beyond simple sign-on, it is quite feasible that Facebook can out-execute Google, MySpace and everyone else with its ID ambitions.

I suppose it depends on what he means by “quite feasible”, but I’d still predict that Google Friend Connect (still in Beta) is the system to watch in this space for two very simple reasons:

1) It’s Simple
2)  It’s Google

A great example of the first challenge is to read the Malik excerpt above.   How many mom and pop websites will read that and say “wow, gotta have it!”.   The answer is very few.  Instead, I think in a few months they will be working their PPC account at Google and be prompted to “click here for the code to make your site a social masterpiece”.

Even assuming Facebook’s social application will allow very simply integration with any website, it’s going to be very hard to compete with the web’s top brand as web empires as well as mom and pop websites seek to integrate social functions into their sites.

I’m not suggesting Facebook will fail however.   I just think that once the game begins in earnest both Myspace and Facebook will struggle to keep up with Google.   I think we’ll see social functionality spread quickly across the web, probably starting from the three key places working this angle right now:  Google, Facebook, and Myspace.  A key question will be how these three will choose to allow their applications to interact, but luckily for users there is a lot of pressure for cross compatibility of social networking.

So, in the end everybody is going to win, and we should soon see a great new layer of social functionality spread across the entire web.  And  that….is a good thing.

Social Networking = Facebook? Myspace is more likely to be an average person’s social space.


Marshall’s at Read Write Web is right to question some of the prevailing social networking wisdom. 

He notes that the ongoing Facebook frenzy is driven in part by folks who are infatuated with Facebook while they keep foolishly thinking Myspace is of little long term significance.   The numbers show how Myspace remains *the* key social media player, and trends suggest this will be the case for some time.

Google to buy Sprint? Only if Sprint gets really “gets lucky”.


Rumors that Google might buy Sprint appear to be mostly just that – silly rumors to catch a headline.    Not so much that it would be a bad idea – for Sprint it would be the rescue they can only dream about as shifts in subscribers and the mobile landscape do not appear to favor Sprint right now.   As a Sprint customer with 4 phones on the plan you’d think I’d be rooting for them, but my misadventures with bad coverage here in Oregon and back east, the overhyped Treo 650, and a ringtone scam I had to *remind* them remove too often has basically soured this customer.    

If Google buys Sprint the Champagne should be popping – but probably not at Google though the economics of a deal like this are well beyond my expertise – probably anybody’s for that matter.

Google clearly wants to enter and effectively destabilize and reinvent the mobile market and they’ve already taken a major first step in the direction with the Mobile Handset Alliance.    Also true that Google can keep a secret as the recent Myspace “Open Social” partnership made very clear.    But I have a hunch they’ll do this more indirectly than managing their own mobile network.   Cleverly, Google is poising themselves to be the keeping of most mobile advertising which is where the “extra” cash is now laying on the table.    Open Handset Alliance phones will combine with mobile services and ads to bring a lot more advertising revenue into this market fairly fast, and Google is making sure a Google mobile OS, or something very compatible, is waiting there to scoop up the bucks.

Why buy the cow when you can get all that milk … for free? 

News Corp Advertising Network. Under the Radar?


Facebook’s targeted advertising was criticized heavily last week by bloggers despite Facebook promises to create a better user experience through better targeting of the ads.   I’m guessing users will hardly notice the change, and advertisers will continue to be underwhelmed with the performance of social network advertising although these ads will play an increasingly important role as social networking explodes and the number of page views on social networking sites like Myspace exceeds pageviews on any other site.

I think Myspace now has the top global pageview count which is why the new ad network from News Corp (Myspace’s parent company) is an important development.    It appears they will sneak in under the radar and avoid the heavy criticism levied against Facebook even though presumably they’ll also be working hard to target the ads to the specific Myspace user profiles.

The Social Network Reality Show: High stakes, big money, false rumors.


The game is social networks.  The stakes are very high, and the news and rumors are flying fast, furiously, and inaccurately.   Here is the latest in the saga of Google’s Social Networking entry which, with Myspace’s participation, is the new Social Networking juggernaut (though it remains to be seen how all the participants will use it). 

More on the Open Social vs Facebook battle for the hearts and minds of developers and, far more importantly, users:

1)  After a 240,000,000 partnership with Microsoft the blogs (including here) lit up soon after suggesting that Facebook recieved another 500 million from two other private groups.   This was false.   It is very conspicuous in my view that the rumor rose and spread so fast, and that Facebook did nothing to quell that rumor.  This news is still shaking out over at TechCrunch which reported the rumor of the 500 million and now reports it was false.   Another example of how news at the speed of real time may not be news at all.

2) Google says Open Social is open to Facebook and all are welcome (I believe them).

3) Facebook says Google was not keeping them in the loop on Open Social (I believe that as well)

4) Facebook says they may join the Open Social movement, but suggest they have their own great stuff coming shortly.    I’m skeptical they can “out open” Google, though they probably could come up with some great new social networking applications quickly.  

However on balance I think Facebook really is in big trouble here.     Much of the recent hype – which was overdone anyway – assumed that Facebook would be the key beneficiary of the boom in social networking.   The reasoning suggested that although Myspace is  bigger than Facebook it was a “closed” environment, favored by a demographic that has far less value to advertisers.    Facebook, that thinking went, will continue to grow explosively, open up gradually, target advertising very directly, and become the dominant social networking platform. 

Then there was Facebook’s refusal to sell to Yahoo for a reported 1+ billion.  This was followed by big negotiations with many key players, culminating a (much overhyped) 240 million deal with Microsoft to cooperate, run MS Live searches, and drive some MS and Facebook advertising.    Then came the false rumor of 500,000,000 more in capital which for many seemed to solidify Facebook’s valuation of 15 billion – a somewhat sloppy projection of the Microsoft partnership price.

So, what is Facebook worth in an Open Social world where even Myspace is a Google partner?   No, the answer is not 15 billion.

Myspace to join Google’s Open Social. Facebook’s value plunges.


It is a mildly risky but potentially brilliant counterstrike against Facebook’s rising popularity.  Myspace will announce shortly that they are joining the Open Social movement spearheaded by Google and which is now officially a social juggernaut of global proportions.    TechCrunch seems to have the latest on this breaking story.

If Facebook was worth 15 billion yesterday I’d suggest it just dropped by more than 50% in value.   Why?   Without Myspace’s hundreds of millions of users Open Social looked like it would be a third player in the field, struggling to catch up with the user bases of Myspace and Facebook and keep up with Facebook development.   But  not any more.  With Myspace, Open Social instantly becomes the key social network, dwarfing Facebook by any reasonable measure of prominence.   Can new Facebook partner Microsoft help sway onliners and developers to stick with Facebook’s “partly open” architecture instead of defecting to what appears to be a very open Google architecture?   No way.

User content myth?


Chuqui 3.0 has a nice piece challenging the hype over “user generated content”.   He suggests that it’s inappropriate to call simple profile pages at Facebook or Myspace “user content”, and that only about 1% of users are generating most of the content in social network sites.    

I’m torn between wanting to agree that things are overblown about this and my basic assumption – social content of both high quality (serious bloggers) and low quality (myspace TV show notes from a 12 year old)  is driving the new web and will continue to do so for some time.     Tons of content is pouring in and even by a high measure of “quality” people already have more than they could read in a lifetime.    It’s hard to make a case that the popular YouTube videos are quality, yet they are generally viewed far more than most quality web pages talking about relevant news or science or yada yada.

So, is the importance of user content of mythological proportions?  

No, but thanks for a thoughful post Chuqui!