Monetising Social Networks

Robert Young writes:

The fundamental problem that social networks face when trying to monetize through an advertising-driven business model is the lack of trust. To be more explicit, while brand advertisers have historically trusted people as consumers, they do not trust them in the new role of producer (e.g. uncontrollable content). Likewise, people who are armed with the power of interactivity are also demonstrating that they are increasingly distrustful of brand advertisers (e.g. ad-skipping).

In many ways, social networks today, at their current stage of evolution, are much like the currencies of underdeveloped nations or countries that are politically unstable. In such circumstances, governments must do all they can to create and engender trust among its nations constituents and institutions. After all, what is money without the peoples trust its just a devalued piece of worthless paper.

Trading Card Game

WSJ writes about Chaotic:

The company that helped bring Pokmon and Yu-Gi-Oh! to the U.S. is trying to create another trading-card sensation for the 7- to 12-year-old crowd — this time in cyberspace.

New York-based 4Kids Entertainment Inc., along with partners Apex Marketing and Draco Ltd., are expected to announce the launch of Chaotic, a game in which players use trading cards to battle each other. But in this case, the physical cards can also be transformed into online digital versions that create more variations on the game, in which players duel each other by morphing into giant bulls, dragons and other monsters.

Here’s how it works: Each trading card is imprinted with a 15-digit alphanumeric code that allows users to manage and play their cards online. Each card represents a character, location or spell. Typing in the codes on Chaotic’s Web site creates a unique digital version of each playing card.

Newspaper Metaphors

Jeff Jarvis writes:

Newspapers have long thought of themselves as bakeries: They gather the raw materials, measure them carefully, mix them up, let them rise, cut and shape them, bake them to a golden crisp, slather some cherry goo on top, and then put them on the shelf, waiting for someone to buy them. News was a product. No more.

So whats the better metaphor? Try a garden: Anyone can plant seeds in it (reporters ideas, editors curiosities, the publics questions) and many can tend to them (insert fertilizer gag here). When the fruit is ripe, its plucked and published; the farmers live by the gardens schedule. And if you keep tending the garden, it continues to bloom. News is a process.

Mobile Uses in Asia

[via ContentSutra] WSJ writes about the things you can do with a phone:

While U.S. consumers still mostly use their cellphones to simply talk — or perhaps send text messages to their friends — their Asian counterparts are increasingly using mobile phones to help manage their spiritual, social and everyday needs. A host of companies are cropping up offering services for cellphones like the text-messaged prayers to Ganesh, ways to track praying schedules and even dating services. Some cellphones also contain technology that allows them to double as debit and credit cards.

For centuries, devotees of the Hindu god Ganesh have walked barefoot from their homes to pray at Mumbai’s Siddhivinayak Temple…Technology is making it easier for worshippers to pray to Ganesh these days. Every Wednesday, two attendants at the temple print out text messages sent to the god — some 70,000 per week — from cellphone users across India. Each message is then neatly folded and placed in a box by the temple’s gold and vermilion idol.

TECH TALK: Video on the Internet: Its Coming

I was talking to a friend in the US the other day about Web 2.0 and the resurgence of the Internet. He made an interesting remark. He said that unlike 1999, when everything to do with the Internet was hot, this time around, it is primarily only things with the word video in them. Video is finally happening on the Internet both from professional sources and amateurs equipped with digital cameras and mobiles. For users, the broadband connections are finally being put to good use. Even in India, SifyMax has taken an early lead in bringing video to the few hundred thousand connections that they have.

Video on the Internet is where text was in 1995. The tools to publish and browse were made available, and created a positive feedback loop for adoption. Now, the same thing is happening with video. Even though it is still a challenge in India, I do expect that to change with the increase in broadband usage and video servers in data centres closer to users. From an Indian perspective, what we will see is India-centric video available first internationally where broadband is available.

This is, again, similar to what happened in 1995. Then, I had launched IndiaWorld as a portal for Indians outside India. (Commercial Internet access came to India about five months after we launched.) This time around, companies like Rajshri Media (in which I have an investment) will take Indian video content to audiences globally. Then, as broadband becomes more widely available in India, the domestic traffic will start rising. In India, a number of telcos are planning to launch IP-TV services over the next few months.

Video will also come to mobile phones in fact, it has already started. Short clips of movies, ranging from 30 seconds to a few minutes, are already available for download across many Indian mobile operators. Mobile TV can manifest itself in another form through direct terrestrial broadcasting much like FM is available on many mobiles phones.

The one interesting element in the growth of video is the role of user-generated content. In the past six months, sites like YouTube have shot up in popularity. Google and Yahoo have launched their own video initiatives. Apples video iPod is a popular consumption device. The huge blue ocean of video archives from TV and movies is starting to come online. Every sports event causes an upsurge of interest and brings it with millions of new video consumers on the Internet.

These are the early days of video to the Internet. There are multiple business models being experimented with. It is not clear whether video on the Internet will be subsidized by advertising like much of the text Internet. What is clear, though, is that the ultimate form of human expression is set to begin its reign on the Internet. It should be good for content owners and users, and eventually, businesses who can communicate their messages in a more targeted form to users. It is time to get ready for the Videonet!

Tomorrow: New Media