As writers, we Spinners get asked about our opinions on the online space. We also get asked to predict trends. Back at the beginning of the year, many of us said that peer-to-peer (P2P) technologies, sites and the like were something to watch out for. Wow was that an understatement.
How many times have you received an e-mail from a friend or colleague asking you to post your current contact information on a service? I'm quite sure you've been asked several times to join someone's "network."
I don't know about you but I have a hard time keeping up with all of it. I did a little inventory prior to writing to you today. Currently I have Plaxo, Soflow, LinkedIn, Gather and MySpace. No to mention I have my own electronic address book as well as several screen names for several different instant message (IM) services. That's a lot of stuff. It seems as if these services have made me unorganized. Instead, I just can't keep up.
Ever watch a teenager multitask? What a hoot. I have a little focus group of one here with me. She just turned 16. It is not uncommon for her to have 1 or 2 IM programs launched while on iTunes or Napster downloading songs to her iPod, while listening to music piping from her PC, emailing, answering her mobile phone... I think I'm getting old and intermittently texting. I get tired just thinking about it!
But seriously folks, I know there is a lot of negative press out there in regard to nut job sexual predators scoping kids out on MySpace. I don't want this article to focus on that. I will say it makes my skin crawl, it's wrong, and people need to get a clue by not publicly posting pictures and personal info online anywhere--period.
Moving on, P2P is here to stay. If you haven't factored it into your online strategies and objectives, what the heck are you waiting for? As marketers and advertisers we need to take a close look at what this really means.
First off let's look at the definition of peer-to-peer. According to Whatis.com: On the Internet, peer-to-peer (referred to as P2P) is a type of transient Internet network that allows a group of computer users with the same networking program to connect with each other and directly access files from one another's hard drives. So think of Gnutella (aka Bearshare). For example, I have the new Nelly Furtado CD. I export the songs to my laptop, sign onto Bearshare, and make the CD accessible for Bearshare users. So you sign onto Bearshare, do a search for the newly released CD, and download it. Basically it is stealing music--also another bad element of P2P.
Social networking is also anther form of P2P. Here's the lowdown straight from Wikipedia: The first social networking Web site was Classmates.com, which began in 1995. Other sites followed, including SixDegrees.com, which began in 1997. It was not until 2001 that Web sites using the Circle of Friends online social networks started appearing. This form of social networking, widely used in virtual communities, became particularly popular in 2003 and flourished with the advent of a website called Friendster. There are over 200 social networking sites, though Friendster is one of the most successful at using the Circle of Friends technique. The popularity of these sites rapidly grew, and by 2005 MySpace was getting more page views than Google. Google has its own social network called orkut, launched in 2004. Social networking began to be seen as a vital component of Internet strategy at around the same time: In March 2005 Yahoo launched Yahoo 360, their entry into the field, and in July 2005 News Corporation bought MySpace.
As of a few days ago, it was announced that holding company IPG and Facebook closed a partnership deal. The deal would give the agency group a small piece of Facebook. According to Adweek online, the deal should be completed within a week. It calls for IPG to spend up to $10 million for clients on Facebook in exchange for a .5 percent stake in the startup, sources said. Such a deal would give IPG opportunities beyond display advertising, allowing IPG to mine Facebook for market research trends among its young user base, according to sources.
Remember earlier this year, Facebook turned down a $750 million USD offer? The company said they wanted $2 billion USD instead. The penetration of these sites are growing and growing. The Tween and Teen market are the savviest demographic group using P2P. Adult consumers as well as adults at work are catching on. Seem like IPG is progressive in cutting this deal. Will it give its agencies a leg up on the younger markets?