Sunday, November 8, 2009

I Don't Understand Any of This

So, is social media doomed to lose money?

Don't go away. I'm not another social media expert. I barely know how to spell social media. But I just think that sometimes, you know, the folks who think social media is all the buzz have the business sense of a pair of ditry tube socks.

Dilemma: You have a popular "social networking" site. You'd like to actually make a living at what you do, so you start with the advertising. Click-through rates, even for sites that attract millions, produce pennies. So there are a few other things to try. Digg, say, tries "sponsored links," allowing folks to pay for a link to repeat and repeat on their front page.

This is the result.

Fans love Digg so much they don't want it to make money? They want every thing they get on the Internet free of advertising, free of anything that they object to, because we all know how open-minded the average Internet user is.

YouTube is doing sponsored links. Is there a rebellion brewing there?

Personally, I don't mind the sponsored links. Digg has got to figure out a way to make money, just like the next guy, or they'll shut down. Then where will all the social networking geeks who hate advertising go next? Yeah, some other site where you can do the same thing, but the nobles there won't bow to corporate pressure or put up ads or anything like tha . . . wait a second. This is COSTING me money, this social network thing? All these eyeballs aren't paying the bills? I could -- gulp -- use a little bit of sponsored advertising to make more money, make this site better? BACK, SATAN, BACK! If I believed in you, that is. I don't, of course. I'm enlightened. Rational. I will bow to the new demands on business that they do everything to please the consumer, even if it leads the company to financial embarrassment. That's the new Internet mentality.

Maybe it's more of a question of knowing where the lines are between acceptability and deplorability, and not crossing that line? Not looking like MySpace, obviously, is a start, if the comments on the Digg thread are anything to go by.

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