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Reflection – Cen (Mia) Zhao

by on December 1, 2007

Reflection – Changing in social networking website

I’m interested in the issue mentioned in Max’s reflection: how can organizations centered on offering free services generate revenue? I did a little bit research on social networking website and found related survey shows that 80% of users would like to stop using social networking website even if the company only charged the $2 service fee per month. Meanwhile, the majority of social networking users indicated that they would not choose to use a social networking website with a lot of advertisement. This could be proved by Facebook, which kept growing fast recently. One of main reasons for more and more people to choose Facebook instead of MySpace.Com, the most popular social networking website, is that much less advertisement is involved in Facebook.

However, assuming these two survey results both are correct, how could a social networking company survive in this world? The fact is that advertisement still works. If you have a chance to look at MySpace.Com, you will find the right side of my homepage is covered by all kinds of advertisement. It did make users annoyed at certain degree, but it is the only way for the company to generate revenue. Also, with the growing of Facebook, more and more advertisement became indispensable. Although it has much less advisement than MySpace.Com now, it still keeps growing.

Now, the problem for these companies doing social networking website is not whether to put advertisement on the website, but how to change the way of advertising to let users feel less annoyed. Like what mentioned in Max’s reflection, broadcast of a user’s purchasing activity on an existing news broadcasting feature is the new advertising way provided by Facebook. Another social networking, Tagged, website changed its advertisement according to the personal profile. This is another way to promote the efficiency and effectiveness of the advertisement, which are used by a lot of web companies now. The related advisement does cause less dissatisfaction.

Besides the change of the advertising way, more and more websites become to add a lot of additional functions. However, it is not necessary to satisfy users. A lot of my friends complained about the Facebook’s new functions. They felt Facebook became to lose its simplicity. (One thing I noticed that the top three social network websites all use blue as their major color and blue represents simplicity). There is another social networking website, called “second life.” It provides 3-D virtual community there. However, although the pictures are really nice, it is not very successful to attract users because of the complicated function. Therefore, in order to succeed in doing social networking website, changing towards simplicity is the most important law for these companies to obey.

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