MySpace Economics: The Power Is Not In The Network
An interesting discussion was started in comments section of my post comparing MySpace to Bikes.
Scott Karp argued, as he did on his site, that MySpace would suffer financially because of the craziness going on on it’s site.
In order to understand why he’s wrong you have to first understand what’s different about web 2.0.
What’s different about web 2.0 is that the audience segments themselves.
Now it’s harder to notice on MySpace but it’s a lot easier to see on one of MySpace’s growing list of competitors, TagWorld.
TagWorld is almost just like MySpace. It has over a million people and lots of cool stuff like it’s new music discovery engine, (which I must talk about later).
Now you search for people by typing in your interest. Since people have tagged themselves, those interested in the same things I am comes up. (what? no women over 35 tagged short skirts?)
Now if you are an advertiser, you can (and if not you should demand) that your ads appear by the tags you choose.
If I’m selling some rap record I don’t want to waste my money having the ad pop up in front of Headbangers (um, I really don’t know if young people still use that word).
The fact that people are tagging themselves makes the problems of the larger community irrelevent.
It’s upside down. Advertisers can call up the individual channels (tags) that they want to advertise on. There may be some channels (people) devoted to mayhem but why would I, as a seller of coffee, care. That’s not my audience.
I’m only reaching the people who tagged themselves as coffee drinkers or visitors to Starbucks.
Social Networks puts power in the hands of the consumer.
The network only serves as a way to reach a large number of them.
Consumers have always been individuals.
Now advertisers have to treat them like that.
Karp is missing the point.
The power is not in the network.
It’s in the individual.
Advertisers are already catching on. Scott needs to as well.
[reloaded: And one other point (and don’t think I’m jumping on you Scott!). A lot of people seem to think that by giving people the freedom you lose control.
(In another example of the internet being upside down) Actually the opposite is true. Social Networks are not just personal message boards. It’s much more than that. People segment themselves. That means that the network ultimately ends up with more control.
Read some of the posts at Swarming Media. It’s eye opening.
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