Social networks: the next phase

by Lee Hopkins on April 1, 2008 · 5 comments

in marketing

cafe dining - but I wish they'd let us spread out over the whole table, it's very squished down here!

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.co.uk logo: click to visit the siteQype 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.net logo - click to visit the siteBrownbook 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 logo - click to visit the site  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.

    What’s also interesting about Trustedplaces is that they are not just London, or even European, but are spreading their wings wider: USA, Australia, UAE, Israel, South Africa

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.

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  • http://www.illumalliance.org/ Rob Cipriano

    Right On …. “who I am as a person” must push its way to the head of the social networking class. We have watched as many very good social networks have found their respective ways into our daily “must do lists”…. however few have captured “our” essense …. I feel that we mold ourselves into the selected catagories and then group ourselves with like-catagoried others and then find our acceptables. I personally have been building the concept of a social network that speaks to who we are – as we are … and who we want to be as we could be. Socially responsible individuals grouped by our “true-hearts” rather than our mind’s creation bound by catagories …… anyway – my two cents ……. Rob Cipriano, Founder IllumAlliance International Humanitarian Group, LLC

  • http://www.illumalliance.org Rob Cipriano

    Right On …. “who I am as a person” must push its way to the head of the social networking class. We have watched as many very good social networks have found their respective ways into our daily “must do lists”…. however few have captured “our” essense …. I feel that we mold ourselves into the selected catagories and then group ourselves with like-catagoried others and then find our acceptables. I personally have been building the concept of a social network that speaks to who we are – as we are … and who we want to be as we could be. Socially responsible individuals grouped by our “true-hearts” rather than our mind’s creation bound by catagories …… anyway – my two cents ……. Rob Cipriano, Founder IllumAlliance International Humanitarian Group, LLC

  • http://www.mcellancreative.com/ John Gillett

    Because social netwroks are in their infancy, there will be many more changes ahead…it is very interesting to see how quickliy they are emerging as cultural signposts around the globe.

  • http://www.mcellancreative.com John Gillett

    Because social netwroks are in their infancy, there will be many more changes ahead…it is very interesting to see how quickliy they are emerging as cultural signposts around the globe.

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