Online Social Networking Wars Update: It’s all about User Interaction and Time spent
This is an update to the previous coverage of the Online Social Networking Wars. Online Social Networks have recently focused on gaining more interaction with their users on their websites, adding features that will make users stay in their website longer. It also seems like Hi5 is back on the map, adding great features which could get them back in the race. So here’s what’s happening in the Online Social Networking industry:
Facebook’s war against Twitter is becoming more evident now, with the redesign of their homepage (Status) to mimic Twitter. The purpose they said was they were preparing for real time live updates of user status. They’ve even added a new feature to update users on their mobile phones on what’s going on with their friends in Facebook. Facebook seems to be battling it out with another Giant and seems to be doing a good job doing it. Their 3rd party developer, FriendFeed, seems to be doing the same and is competitive to what they’re doing now. What will be the outcome from FriendFeed’s competitiveness with them? Will they cut their services from FriendFeed? There’s still a big doubt for more 3rd party developers coming into them (and serving as their Research and Development), unless they clear this matter. Nonetheless, it’s still a lucrative market to enter and could give high rewards.
3rd placer, Hi5, is slowly adding more and more features that would monetize and (hopefully profit) from more user interaction with their website. They’ve added a new function which is chat, which is much like Facebook’s chat. They’re slowly creeping into the war and seems to be left aside by the 2 online social networking giants. They’re new found focus and leader is doing a great job of leading Hi5 into a new direction and really solving the fundamental problem of Web2.0 which is profitability.
MySpace has been restructuring their executive team lately and has got a good executive team (although a lot of negative feedback from their current CEO Van Natta on previous job in Playlist). They also seem to be focused on their MySpace Local which I reported before (here). Which is about getting people to interact more by getting localized pages served at them.
If Facebook was to win the war against Twitter, then it would really put them into the lead in the Online Social Network Race. However, the problems with them profiting still remains (they’re apparently burning cash at $20 million a month) and cannot solely relying on their (really) high valuations and raising cash with investors. They would need to go into the fundamental purpose and find a way to profit in the business. MySpace and Hi5 seems to be focused on solving this problem. With MySpace, however, the new team still needs to prove themselves that they have what it takes to run MySpace and make it profit. The executive team made up from executives from different companies seems really ideal, but without the founders will it be the same MySpace that everyone knew? Hi5 seems to be performing the best,Â not getting in the way of the two giants and focusing on their own little battles. Their so focused on monetizing Hi5, that if they succeeded they could get into the top 2 spot. I applaud Hi5 for their new found direction and CEO, they just need to focus and they’ll get there eventually. It might also be best for them to get under the wing of a larger company (like how Facebook in Microsoft and MySpace in NewsCorp) to support them with their mission.
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