7/29/08

Advertising and Social Networking, or, How To Pimp Your Friends

Money - Pink Floyd So just how much are your friends worth? Seriously. This was a question posed by Gary Stein, a columnist for the The ClickZ Network, in his post Monetizing the Social Networks: “Should LinkedIn set up a system by which I could get paid to advertise a product to my social network?” As an avid blogger and internet marketer, this is a question that I have been grappling with myself. As Gary points out, and as I, too, had recently observed on my own LinkedIn profile, we have some great contacts. Contacts someone would be willing to pay for. But the question is, how much integrity do I have? Am I willing to sell out my friends just to make a few bucks? Naah. Well, maybe. Just a few days ago, I spotted Obama advertising himself like crazy on the family-friendly social networking site, Multiply. After conferring with my good friend and colleague, Toby Brown, he said he spotted McCain on Facebook. Which raised a question for me: just how are they buying ad space? Are the politicos’ internet marketing managers buying ad space based upon demographics of subscribers or are they just blanketing these sites? Are they marketing to areas of interest, based upon group membership? How sophisticated are the tracking mechanisms behind these social networking sites? I am willing to wager that these sites are only in their infancy in capitalizing on their constituency. I suppose if our little blog is gaining any sort of popularity, I may be giving some of those developers out there a few ideas . . . shame on me. Selling out my friends like this . . .

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