MySpace, the online social network (can we still call it that now that it has ducked out of the Facebook/Twitter competition?), appears to be pursuing what I’ll call the “two-pronged news strategy.” You get used to it when you cover media and technology. For those of you who don’t enjoy this privilege, it goes like this:
Microsoft may be the only company with the wherewithal to challenge Google’s Internet search dominance head on, but a number of firms are trying to outflank Google with services that handle aspects of search not covered by Google’s index of Web pages.
Friday was a day of great joy and merriment for seminarians, academics and other devotees of Latin following Facebook’s announcement that the world’s largest social networking website is now available in the language of Caesar.
How much are 1,000 Facebook friends worth?
According to Leon Hill, $177.30.
That’s the price that Hill’s online marketing firm uSocial.net is selling Facebook friends for, through a new service that has already raised alarms within Facebook.
Facebook opened its doors to venture capitalists on Tuesday.******The world’s largest social media company, which landed $200 million in funding in May, wasn’t trying to drum up any more cash for itself.******Instead, it was promoting a couple dozen start-up companies that leverage its technology and could further the strategy of making Facebook a key building block for Internet businesses and services.******The start-ups were selected by Facebook earlier this year through fbFund, a joint venture between Facebook, Accel and Founders Fund that provides seed funding (typically between $15,000 and $75,000 per start-up) to Facebook application developers.******The start-ups toiled through the summer in Facebook’s erstwhile Palo Alto, California headquarters and Tuesday was show-time: a chance to show off their progress and, they hoped, secure a more substantial chunk of funding from the VCs assembled.******Unlike traditional Facebook applications, such as games that run directly within the Facebook Web site, many of the products showcased on Tuesday were stand-alone Web sites that tap into a Web surfer’s network of Facebook friends using the Facebook Connect service.******Thread.com, an online dating site, allows people to cull through their Facebook friends’ friends, searching for say, single women in a certain age group, and to contact a prospective date via a trusted friend.******Another start-up, Sociable, provides a service that it said can boost sales for online retailers by integrating transactions with Facebook. The company said it was already generating revenue and that concert-promoter LiveNation is a customer.******According to Founders Fund’s Dave McClure, who organized Tuesday’s event, five fbFund companies are already break-even or profitable, and another three expect to get there by the end of the year – no small feat given the rough economy.******Facebook will need more such success stories as it seeks to transform its own company from the Web’s top social networking destination into the underlying social fabric of all Web sites.
from The Great Debate:
Do once-hot Internet start-ups who miss a date with destiny ever truly get a second chance? History says no, even for once-great names like Netscape, AOL and MySpace.
As centers of innovation go, there are worse places to place a bet on the past repeating itself than California's technology hub. Looking beyond the Internet, housing and credit bubbles, it's still the preferred playground of such leading financial weathervanes as venture capitalists, gizmo nerds and software studs.