Socially useful sites — ‘what I think about something’ — is the next phase of evolution for social networks, who are mostly currently at the ‘who I am as a person’.
Tying in nicely with my report this week for FIR comes an article from the Beeb about the next development in social networks.
Already there are developments in Europe where social networks are building up around ‘local’ and national geographies: business reviews, product reviews, city guides, places to stay.
Examples and their ‘about’ copy:
- Qype was founded in November of 2005 and since then has gone on to become the largest user-generated local review site in Europe. The company was founded in Hamburg, Germany by Stephan Uhrenbacher, an internet entrepreneur who was having a hard time finding a local kindergarten for his son. Reasoning that most people value personal recommendations when it comes to something like child care Stephan decided to build a community where people could relate their experiences, swap stories and give feedback on every aspect of their everyday lives. Being a business traveller Stephan was beginning to see the advantages of having a network of trusted reviews and recommendations at your fingertips when visiting new cities. And so Qype was born! Now, whether you need to impress your in-laws with a fancy but inexpensive restaurant; want a good local plumber right away; or maybe you’re visiting friends in another city… Qype’s international community is there to help you out.
- Brownbook is the open business directory that anyone can edit and where everyone has their say. We’re building the Internet’s most reliable and accurate business directory, one business at a time – and you can be a part of it just by having your say. It’s an ambitious project and one that we hope you can contribute to. You can add new businesses, update existing businesses, even write helpful reviews about good or bad service. If you own a business you can claim it and promote it in BrownBook so you get alerted to reviews and edits that other people make. If you’re looking for a business, if you own a business, or if you know about a great (or not so great) local business, BrownBook is for you.
- Trustedplaces is a community of real people, like you and me, who all have opinions on places they have experienced in their daily lives. By being part of the community you can share your opinions on places that you know, trust and recommend – or even avoid – with all of your friends and their friends too. Discovering great new places is both fun and easy as you tap into all the recommendations shared by the community – it is also great value as you enjoy special offers from participating businesses.
Of course, allowing business owners themselves to pop their own properties up on these sites does risk abuse. But let’s not forget that this is a web2.0 world now; says the Beeb article:
But, surely a completely open service which allows anybody to post anything about a business or an event is open to just a little bit of abuse.
What is to stop unscrupulous business owners singing there praises via false posts on these sites?
“The whole idea of consumer recommendations and social media is potentially open to abuse,” says Mr Burmaster [Alex Burmaster, Nielsen Online].
“The classic example is within a blog, message board, or a group of people. Advertisers come in there pretending to be one of those people trying to promote products – look isn’t this album great or this hamburger is fantastic.
“But social media is very well self-regulated and people are very savvy, as a group, at sniffing out abuse of this system.”
Which means you can’t go in their heavy-handed and club foot heavy and expect people to take your message seriously.
It’s a great article over on the Beeb site. Check it out.