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« Patterns and viral rules | Main | Chief Love Officer »

September 23, 2003

Speculation Engines ... Engage

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Posted by Stewart Butterfield

The Google-is-going-to-buy-Friendster rumour is now out in "print" and publicly linkable (although this doesn't seem like a permanent URL — will correct and remove this comment when possible). I've been busting, keeping this to myself for the last week.

So, what does this mean? Why would Google buy Friendster? To get the ball rolling, a few entirely speculative, silly and half-baked answers:

  • [Consumer internet]/[social network] stuff is hot now and Google has cash
  • Google is dumber than we thought
  • Google is smarter than we thought, and we are too dumb to understand Friendster
  • Hmm ... PageRank + social networks = ? [More annoying email soliciting friendships. -Ed.]
  • People are the new content
  • Friendster really can be the Match.com killer
  • Google wants lifelong relationships with their users (and their users' relationships)
  • Blogger + Friendster = ??
  • Blogger + Friendster + Google = ???!
Now, just two more shoes to drop ...

Comments (3) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: guests


COMMENTS

1. Frank Ruscica on September 23, 2003 11:05 PM writes...

As I wrote many months ago at Slashdot (http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=59045&cid=5632134), Google + Blogger = Go_Ogle, the mother of all online dating sites.

Here are the relevant highlights:

Online dating is big business. Consider:

* 26M Americans visited an online dating site during 12/02

* "Personals Comprise the Largest Paid Content Category on the Internet: According to a [12/02] study...the Personals category grew 387 percent to become the largest online paid content category among consumers in the third quarter of 2002, surpassing Business Content." (source: comScore Media Metrix)

* “'I have 43 employees, and we’ll bring in $43 million this year. That’s $1 million per employee,' [uDate president Martin] Clifford said. 'We have zero cost of sales within our business...The margins are almost super-margins.'” (source: MSNBC.com)

Google+Blogger is an ideal combination for serving this market.

Here's how I think Go_Ogle will happen:

Soon, Google will improve the searchability of "blogspace" by making it easy for bloggers to annotate their blogs with information about themselves and their blogger friends. This information will be encoded in an RDF dialect called FOAF (Friend of a Friend).

It will then dawn on people that the FOAF file is effectively a static online profile, while the associated blog is akin to a living profile (in the 'living document' sense).

With this, Googling people will come to encompass both researching people you have met -- already a common practice -- and researching people you would like to meet.

The upside potential of this, as introduced above, will prove too substantial for Google to ignore.

Google will then acquire the best makers of RDF query tools and launch Go_Ogle, the mother of all online dating sites.

-----------------------
End of Slashdot excerpt
-----------------------

Implicitly, Go_Ogle supplies the functionality of Friendster, as FOAF encodes social networks through the 'knows' attribute.

Also, as I wrote on Slashdot in August (http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=74657&cid=6694294),
Go_Ogle + Blog Ads will largely, if not entirely, shift the online dating revenue model from from subscriptions to advertising.

So the original thesis holds: Google should acquire makers of RDF query tools and launch Go_Ogle.

Of course, doing so makes acquiring Friendster redundant.

And precludes Friendster from being credibly sustainable.

Which suggests that Friendster's best move is to beat Google to the RDF query tools and morph into Go_Ogle...

Thoughts?

Permalink to Comment

2. Anil on September 24, 2003 7:40 PM writes...

Frank, seriously. Stop spamming this crap on every comment form where Google and Blogger are mentioned.

Permalink to Comment

3. jon on September 25, 2003 1:35 AM writes...

Wait a minute, switching to an advertising model from subscription, and acquiring companies that duplicate what Google already does? I think Frank wants to party like it's 1999! I also think maybe he has an RDF tool for sale.

Permalink to Comment

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