While school systems are scrambling to block MySpace from their computer screens (and blocking any of us who dare mention it), big companies are trying to figure out how to make money from these social networking sites.
The latest to give it a try is the Big Monopoly from Redmond. They are spinning off technology they developed which “automatically builds and maintains a person’s online social network” into a new service called Wallop.
So, how will this community be different from those available now?
However, the 38-year-old entrepreneur said that Wallop will solve many of the problems typically associated with social networking services today, namely personal security, Web design and the way people interact with one another. On that last point, Jacob said that social networking sites today become impersonal because they are built around the idea of simply gaining more “friends.”
Jacob said that concept “quickly devolves into everybody being in a sea of people all at the same interaction level” — meaning it becomes difficult to share personal information with select members. Wallop, he said, has built algorithms on top of the Microsoft technology that watches personal interactions and then creates a network automatically.
That’s all very nice but it’s not likely to be enough. Attracting the crowds that MySpace has seen is going to require the kind of buzz that isn’t normally generated by cool technology.
Making a profit from that crowd is going to be even tougher. It should be interesting to watch them try.