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As Facebook's unbelievable growth continues unabated, the company is increasingly finding itself scrutinized by critics who are asking a simple question: 'where's the money'?
Even though Facebook is generating hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue, its costs are growing rapidly and there are various unsubstantiated rumors that the company is on a potentially disastrous financial path.
It used to be that you do a decent job of protecting your brand by registering the domain names that incorporate your brand name.
Not anymore. Thanks to social networking sites and other online communities, consumers are increasingly interacting on third party services that have become targets for brand hijackers, impostors and opportunists. Their MO: snap up usernames that are related to major brands (and prominent individuals).
We've written about the potential of using social media for customer service, or at least monitoring and responding to customers' comments and complaints, and here is a great example of how valuable this can be.
Naked Wines, which launched last December, was very quick to get involved in social media; it has a Twitter account as well as a Facebook group, and this example shows the value of monitoring and responding to customers' concerns where they are talking about you.
Content may be king but many companies have found that producing and distributing quality content requires a royal bank account.
The plight of the newspaper industry is a good example: news hasn't gone out of style but, for many newspapers, the cost structures associated with producing the news is incompatible with today's market. Costs simply exceed revenues.
Yahoo has a lot of work to do as it looks to rebuild under new CEO Carol Bartz. Bartz has assets to work with, namely Yahoo's diverse portfolio of highly-trafficked properties.
One of the biggest challenges: figuring out a way to pull them all together, both from an operational standpoint and a functional standpoint.
With all of the talk about social media and Marketing 2.0, it's easy to overlook less exciting marketing tools. Like coupons.
But make no mistake about it: coupons are in vogue as consumers look for every opportunity to save money. That means business is good for players in the online coupon industry.
Digg, the popular content sharing website that lets users 'vote' for their favorite content on the web, is a favorite of online publishers. Get Digged enough and you might hit the Digg homepage, which can drive tens of thousands of visitors in short order.
Currently, there are two ways to Digg content: on the Digg website or through a button that publishers place on their web pages.
Social media has given brands a new medium in which consumers can be engaged. Most agree: there's something really important about this, even if we disagree on just what that is.
At the same time, social media has given consumers a powerful new tool for interacting with brands. It's now possible to provide feedback, issue praise and voice complaints in a manner that can have a real impact very quickly.
By almost all metrics, Facebook is the top dog in the social networking market. Even though it's now 5 years old, it's still growing like a weed and there's no reason to believe that its growth is going to subside anytime soon.
But is the company increasingly troubled?
One of the great paradoxes of the internet is that the more information we have, the more myopic we get. This myopia is a dangerous thing. We have brilliant political thinkers and economists blogging every day, yet most people get their news from biased factoids. And from a strictly democratic economic standpoint, businesses need options. But as a business, we're in the middle of a myopia that borders on blindness.
The subject is of course, Twitter, Facebook, and Google. May the internet Gods continue to bless all three. Irrational exuberance surrounds all of them right now. But when they have to live up to those expectations of consistent triple-digit quarterly growth, and they have to face competition, and they have to struggle with advocacy groups that want to brand themselves at their expense, these three will change. Yet, they dominate press coverage and conference events and people speak of them as if they are immune to bad breaks or random events. They're not.
A growing number of charities and non-profits have gone social. From Facebook to Twitter, social media has an obvious appeal: the costs of getting involved are low, awareness can be generated virally and people naturally tend to use social media to engage around topics and causes that are important to them.
But what isn't so well understood is how social media can best be applied to the non-profit sector in meaningful ways.
Facebook recently rolled out a new design that, in the eyes of some, represents a fundamental shift for the world's largest social network.
The new design places an emphasis on showing Facebook users real-time updates of their friends' latest online activities. Some suggest this is Facebook's response to the growing popularity of Twitter.