Category Archives: Social Networking

Ning Launches Virtual Goods – #DH09

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At Digital Hollywood, I caught up with Julie Supan, VP of Marketing for Ning. Ning, a site that lets you set up your own custom social network, has just announced the launch of a virtual gifts platform that allows users to buy and sell virtual goods using Ning’s virtual currency.

I thought it was an exciting announcement as I have written a lot about how to make social networking profitable by turning communities into economies.

Digital Podcast 57: Gather’s CEO Tom Gerace

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At the recent Digital Hollywood conference, I met with Tom Gerace, CEO of Gather is a social network focused on the over 30 crowd and with a tagline of “The Best Conversation Online”. The social network is oriented by topics such a politics, music, cooking and movies with strong incentives for users to create posts on these topics. The site gives people on the network “Gather Points” for participating. These points can be cashed in for gift cards at Starbucks, Target and Amazon.

Tom and I had a great conversation about Gather and what they are doing to make the site a success.

Want an alter-mego?

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One of the most interesting presentations at the VentureNet show, was given by Mego. They make a portable widget that contains your user profile. The widget is completely customizable and can be plugged right into any social network or blog. Wouldn’t it be nice to have one place to update your info and have it published out to all your social network sites.

Digital Podcast 52: Everyone Can Be a Star

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In Digital Podcast 52, Andrew interviews Jonathan Strietzel, Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of Big Stage, whose breakthrough technology allows users to create and integrate life-like 3-D avatars of themselves into movies, videogames, commercials and other digital video content using just three digital face photos.

Imagine if you and your friends could star in a music video, famous movie clip, or commercial as realistically as if you were around for the shoot. Jonathan describes the company and the potential that its technology has to transform advertising and the audience relationship with movies, television and videogames.

Yahoo Announces New Open Strategy

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Yahoo LogoYahoo’s CTO Ari Balogh opened his speech at Web 2.0 Expo speaking about about 3 big bets: being the most important starting point for the web, being a must buy advertising property and being open.

In his speech Ari, describes Yahoo’s New Open Strategy called Y! OS.

Digital Podcast 45: How to Make Social Networking Profitable

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Peanuts for Cash
In this podcast, we interview Murtaza Hussain, CEO of Peanut Labs. Our focus is on making money in social networks by understanding the opportunity to turn a community into an economy.

Before we dive into the interview, it’s worth explaining why this is an issue.

Facebook and MySpace have grown very large as social networking sites and white label services like Ning have also grown very popular. These sites have lots of users and lots of page views, but how to make social networking sites profitable is still an open question.

Ning Surpasses 200,000 Social Networks – But Is It Cash Flow Positive?

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Ning LogoMarc Andreessen posts at his blog that Ning has now passed 200,000 social networks using the Ning platform. Ning is a simple to use service that allows you to create a social network site for anything you want. You get user pages, photos, videos, discussions and the rest of the tools commonly used in social networking.

If you’re a podcaster and want a social network for your fan club it’s worth checking out.

Getting Applications Funded

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Eric Eldon (VentureBeat), Jeff Clavier (Softtech VC), Jason Beckerman (Teach The People, Dank Apps), Lee Lorenzen (Altura Ventures) spoke about investing in social network applications.

Why the space valuable? Size and growth of audiences is driving value. The opening of the API’s at MySpace and OpenSocial is driving huge opportunities.

Application developers ask VCs why should they take the money when they are making good money with their applications.

Turning Applications into Dollars

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Jim Scheinman (Charles River Ventures), Seth Goldstein (, Scott Rafer (Lookery), Troy Young (VideoEgg), Murtaza Hussain (Peanut Labs, Inc) spoke at GSP West about monetizing applications on social networks.

Global advertising spend on the internet continues to grow rapidly. There are a whole variety of ways to monetize via advertising and transactions.

Application monetization networks like SocialMedia and VideoEgg have emerged to aggregate applications into advertising networks. To turn this into a big business, we need to get the brands to start spending more seriously to reach these audiences.

Facebook Anthem – Poking fun at Facebook

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