The Online Social Networking wars have been really interesting lately, fighting on different platforms and aspects. And right now, the focus is on ‘People’. With recession hitting hard, lots of lay-offs and switching of companies, Social Networks have seem to have been restructuring their own companies lately and having a hard time retaining great people around their companies. Changes even from the executive positions are happening right now. So here’s the update:
Facebook seems to have problems in keeping their own staff, high executives have been leaving the company to join other startups and even competitors. Big Names like Gideon Yu left the company but the reasons seem unclear as to why they left, and their continuing losing other staff both from low to high up management. Recently Owen Van Natta, left Facebook for MySpace as the new appointed CEO, apparently as TechCrunch reports, ‘Van Natta feels betrayed by Facebook for not making him the CEO and has a deep dislike of Mark Zuckerberg‘. What’s happening in Facebook? Is it because they believe that Mark (founder) is not capable of running the company? The reason is still really unclear.
On the other hand, An update to their fight against Twitter, Facebook has recently opened their doors for developers to be able to tap user’s data. With Facebook being unclear, allowing access and then disallowing, would developers risk their time and money to develop applications in Facebook? However, with lots of active and registered users in Facebook, developers might still be attractive to developers. I just hope that this time, they would be more careful with user data and their relationship with the developers.
MySpace, as mentioned earlier, got Facebook’s executive Van Natta (Previous chief revenue officer in Facebook) as their new CEO. As DeWolfe steps down as MySpace’s CEO, a lot of executives at Newscorp seems to be celebrating the news. There have been rumors that because of the relationship that DeWolfe has with Murdoch, a lot of things couldn’t be done. But with the entry of Van Natta, would this give MySpace a huge boost? Van Natta was said to have a big grudge over Facebook, for not becoming the CEO, could he lead his team to victory over Facebook (Make MySpace number 1 again)?
MySpace has also launched MySpace Local, with a partnership with Citysearch, allows users to rate and review local businesses in their area. Going local is a great move, but this move isn’t going to be easy, they would have to compete with review websites (like Yelp). However, Monetizing this would be easy as they feature a self service platform where local businesses could advertise easily.
Hi5 has recently changed their CEO to Bill Grossman, which has great experience in monetization. However, with tons of lay-offs in the company, could this guy save Hi5? Their direction to save the company? Casual Gaming and Micro Payments. This is a great focus for them to target a specific and leave Facebook and MySpace to fight on their own fields. Being a big entrant in this field without the big guys, could give them an upper hand in monetization.
Facebook and MySpace seems to be neck to neck in everything that they do, but like every war, it costs a lot of money. Facebook doesn’t seem to have anything new in terms of monetization (considering their alarming rate of cash burn), however their doing something right in order for them to dominate the web and stop Twitter from taking all of it. MySpace losing a founder and regaining a new leader (who knows their mortal enemy well) is looking really good together with the announcement of MySpace local. Monetization seems to be the top priority of MySpace which is the most important aspect of a business. But waging a war with other giants (Yelp and other local review websites) might not be the best idea, but with the amount of registered users, they could easily gain supremacy over the players. Hi5 is also great in targetting a smaller niche as opposed to going all out with the two, they seem to have a clar direction as to where they want the company to excel in. Casual gaming and Micropayments are not being tapped by the other 2 giants and this is a huge opportunity for Hi5.