The web has long been rich in social and viral marketing elements. Email this to a friend, social bookmarking, blogging, etc. So many services have popped up that now there is a Social Media Firefox Extension and Andy Hagans is planning his fake review optimization service.
Ultimately the communities that are focused on a niche and editorially biased will be successful while aggregator websites that are nothing more than a feature that Google can add to their suite of services will die. Google quitely launched a Digg clone, and is aiming to create the underlying platform that powers most social networks. And they might bid on wireless spectrum in the US and UK.
As the leading portals collect more data they will be able to add value to more transactions and disintermediate middlemen by employing creative individuals to do jobs that were once done in offices. If people get paid for results then the quality of work goes up. Think of portals as television stations vying for a bite of your attention for as long as they possibly can, and looking to pay you for your attention with relevancy, and cash if you are really motivated.
There has always been a wall between editorial and advertising. Viral self select ads rip that down. Kevin Kelly recently posted about how he sees the new Google Gadget ads changing the face of advertising.
What happens when publishers can see what is hot right now and can create commercially oriented content targeting it in near real time? What happens when they are encouraged to track and test their results and can see the results of other ideas simply by the frequency they see it? Many current arbitrage opportunities are going to die, but others will thrive on this new opportunity.
The more third party platforms optimize revenue streams the more profitable niche attention based publishing will become. Generalist sites will be less profitable than highly specialized niche publishing. Results based distribution across large networks will force advertisers to give publishers a larger cut of revenue.The key is to scour through the ads and format them in a user friendly way to where they are looking at relevant content. You can't beat relevancy algorithms without bias, brand, focus, and strong editorial.
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