I know that at present, the odds of Facebook and MySpace merging are about up there with my grandmother running off with the paperboy. Murdoch give up control? The Facebook guys let go of their potential billion-dollar buyout possibilities? I don’t think so–not now, anyway.
Still, with Microsoft (MSFT) looming over Yahoo(YHOO) and threatening to swallow it, I’ve been thinking about who the real power brokers are online. And I’ve concluded that a social media mega-power combination (FaceSpace? MyBook?) would have advantages that a Microsoft plus Yahoo teaming couldn’t duplicate, billions in assets or no.
For one thing, if the two combined their social maps–allowing people to connect their friends far more readily–it would expotentially increasing the value of each connection through network effects.
Then, of course, there’s the plain fact that advertisers are stampeding toward the social media networks, while growing disgusted with branding/CPM deals that characterize the Yahoo era. “Advertisers are increasingly shifting ad dollars to social networking sites from portal sites,” notes Debra Aho Williamson, a senior analyst with eMarketer, which predicts that the networking sites will nab $1.3 billion in advertising this year alone.
This just makes sense. After all, where would you rather place an ad–in an environment where you have a broad idea of a consumer’s interests (portal) or a very detailed picture of their associations, habits, interests and more? It’s no contest.
I’m already tired of hearing about MicroHoo. Let’s face it–since the dawn of MSN, Microsoft has been trying to “get it” about consumer Web culture, but still remains a second-string player when it comes to agility and appeal. Bring on FaceSpace!