Folks, what we are seeing is an end of a general purpose broad social networking – this is what Om Malik wrote in his latest post on MySpace’s CEO, Chris DeWolfe’s exit from once famous (if I can say so) social networking platform, MySpace.

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Today while I was reading this article, I stopped for a while to think over. No, I’m not saying that I don’t agree to it but a general purpose of anxiety can definitely be seen for the question of monetization of social networks. Infact, many social networking platforms are trying to figure out their niches. Read below to understand what I’m getting at:

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With recession raging and advertising market in a slump, the social networks have to figure out business models fast. For MySpace it could mean capturing music-industry dollars. MySpace won’t be the first social network looking for niche-riches. Hi5, a San Francisco-based social network that is popular outside of the US recently cut half its workforce and is said to be pivoting into becoming a social gaming destination. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg recognized that and since then has been pushing hard on Facebook Connect. Others are going to soon follow.

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So lets break it down into pieces and see where are we going with all this:

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Facebook – Social interactions in non-Facebook services, Brand Engagement (with vanity urls)

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MySpace – Music Platform

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Hi5 – Gaming platform

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Twitter – Real-time search platform

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Google (though not a Social networking platform other than its Orkut) – social search with Vanity profiles with Google Profiles.

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So the first question that pops on our mind is – are these social networking platforms looking for their niches? Answer is both yes and no. Yes, because the way to monetize through social networks is to capture the mindshare as well as eye-balls (if we consider it in terms of CPM’s and CTR’s, then it falls in the boundary of about 0.05% of display ads which is far below the industry average of 0.2% to 0.5% for typical sites and 1% to 5% range for search campaigns) and No, because the social fabric is still too large a market considering proliferation of audience from emerging markets.

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However, my gut feel says that social networks won’t stop from searching their niches to survive. One of the major backlash has been as Om pointed out that “Social networks spent too much time trying to build audiences without building a solid business model”.

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Although many proclaim that social networking has just become more of a feature than a system altogether but I quietly disagree from the statement since I take it more from the point of view of evolution of large and much wider reach of social web fabric.

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Though many more such spurts are yet to come in our way and we as writers, critics and moreover as users will accept it, whatsoever!

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