Musings About Online Marketing

Urban Flight 2.0

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Several conversations I’ve had recently have surrounded the staying power of Twitter. While I tend to be mostly focused on Twitter while they search for a good revenue model, this also applies to all other social media. It’s been interesting to see how the landscape has evolved over the years. With the recent revelation that Facebook is looking for some more money, it got me to thinking about how effective even their ad inventory might be.

This is completely a rant, devoid of good, solid facts or anything else. It’s just how I perceive things happening on things like Myspace, Facebook, and Twitter. So please, let me know what you think.

We know about banner blindness. If you’re not on a search engine actively looking for something, then odds are that you are completely looking past ads on the page of the blog, article, or whatever content you are looking at. Sure, we can get clicks and conversions from those sources, but when you look at the number of impressions vs. search, you know just how much lower the response rate is in that area. We’ve all gotten adjusted to the fact that the ads are there, we just don’t acknowledge them as much.

When I’m on Facebook, I barely even notice the ads. In fact, their new layout actually detracts from their own ads, if you notice how the ad includes an image, it appears almost like the other notifications that run down the right side on the homepage after you log in. That’s neither here nor there for this topic, but something to munch on, Facebook peoples.

People don’t like spam. Period. We know that. Myspace is rampant with them. Twitter is as well, though you can mostly avoid them. Eventually, the spammers will learn how to game the system more if Twitter isn’t proactive about it. Facebook has proven a little more spammer unfriendly.

Once spammers move in, people tend to move out. Not everyone, mind you, but enough that it’s significant. It reminds me of urban flight. For those who aren’t familiar with it, urban flight is the effect of people moving away from urban areas as crime, cost of living, etc. increase.

As the spammers start to take over the last big thing, the next big thing arises and everyone runs over to it. The next big thing, however, is so new that they haven’t established a revenue model or anything. They’re more interested in building a user base to prove their clout to investors. After they secure some money, they’ll create a revenue model (obviously, there’s no rush).

The issue is that as your user base expands, so does your potential for being targeted by spammers and everything else. You have to stay out in front of them and proactively combat it. If you don’t, people will get frustrated, then comes another next big thing, and a lot of people start to move on. Rinse and repeat.

Myspace was a lot of fun a few years ago, but the more spammy it got, the more I stayed away from it. Now, I have a profile, but it’s there just to follow bands and concert announcements. I check it once a month at best. Facebook and Twitter, I’m all over. I love them. They are both great ways to communicate and collaborate, but what’s their staying power? They have to make money to survive. Can they do it without employing tactics that will drive people away? Time will tell.

Let me know what you think. Can Facebook and Twitter find a model that can sustain them, or will they succumb to urban flight 2.0?


Written by rogersikes

March 27, 2009 at 11:32 am

One Response

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  1. […] with more parents moving into the social space, kids are going to move to the next big thing, as referenced in a blog post a while back. What sort of platform that might be, I don’t know, but with the rapid adoption […]

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