Thursday, 2 April 2009

Fad Sites Fade

(By Richard Holway 10.00pm 2nd Apr 09)
Two articles on Second Life caught my eye Second Life’s span is virtually over as firms decide to get real – The Telegraph 31st March 09 and The suits come to Second Life – Now it’s dying - The Times 2nd Apr 09.

Both report that ‘real firms’ like BT, Coca-Cola, Adidas and Toyota, which had setup a presence on Second Life, had now abandoned the site. Indeed, after claiming 15m user last year, only 500,000 visited the site last week.

Other than visiting Second Life ‘in the interests of research’ it has never appealed to me. But, there again, I’m not a computer games fan either.

Many of you continue to ask how my Twitter Experiment is going. The answer is that I‘ve lost interest. I’m sure I will get a torrent of abusive Tweets when I declare that I think Twitter is tomorrow’s Second Life. It’s a fad which will be go out of fashion just as quickly.

Of course, the other problem is how do you monetise any of these things. It is reported that Facebook is starting to be worried about its outflows of cash. As StrategyEye reported this morning “Facebook is replacing its CFO, Gideon Yu, amid worries that the company’s rapid growth is putting pressure on its limited cash supplies. Yu leaves after reportedly disagreeing with Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg over a range of issues such as ad revenues and fund raising. Some are speculating that the ex YouTube exec was kicked out for failing to bring in sufficient cash. Facebook is fast approaching 200m users worldwide but, unlike its smaller rival MySpace, the network is failing to monetise its user base.” There are also rumours that Google is eyeing Facebook as a possible acquisition.

Personally I think that Facebook will face considerable problems in finding a way to monetise the site. Every time they make the slightest change to the site, their users are up-in-arms! But Facebook remains an extremely sticky site. Whereas I’ve abandoned Twitter, I checkout Facebook every night – mainly to see what my young friends and relatives around the world have been up to today.

As I have said several times before (See My advice to Steve Ballmer - 26th Oct 08) , I think that FaceBook is as close to a model for MyTop as is currently available (see my 6th Sept 08 post - Race for MyTop still wide open). For that reason, if I was Microsoft I’d buy Facebook and turn FaceBook into their consumer gateway to the Cloud – available on every device (most particularly Mobile Internet Devices) . It would certainly be a much more productive purchase than Yahoo.

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