I've always thought Twitter might be a bit pointless -- it certainly looks that way from the outside -- but everyone tells me that once you start doing it, you can't stop. So I'm about to find out. You can find me at twitter.com/nate_elliott.
The map isn't quite perfect. While there's some data to support the idea that Bebo are the largest network in the UK, there's almost no chance they're bigger than MySpace across all of Europe; our 2007 data has MySpace a clear #1 in Western Europe with Facebook and Bebo fighting it out for #2. Also, Skyblog (listed as #1 in France and #3 in Europe) and LiveJournal (listed as #1 in Russia) aren't social networks, they're blogging sites. (Yes, it's getting harder to tell the difference between those two categories. But even with Skyblog's addition of some networking features last year, these two sites are still, clearly, first and foremost about blogging.) Finally, I'd have thought some of the countries that aren't labeled would've been pretty easy to fill in with a current leader -- among others, it seems clear that StudiVZ is #1 in Germany, and that Facebook is #1 in Sweden.
I've just finished up a report on how Yahoo, MSN, and Ask are competing with Google in Europe. The short answer, of course, is that they're not competing very well: Google is incredibly dominant in all the key European markets. But there are some ways that the other engines can start to claw back some share, and our report -- which should be published in the next few weeks -- talks about some of the strategies that we think will work best.
One of the things I focused on in the report was the integration of specialty search (e.g., image or video search, directory search, shopping search, news search) into standards results pages -- what Google calls Universal Search, and what Ask implemented as part of their 3D search results pages. During my research I found a couple of good blog entries on the topic over at Ramblings About SEO. They did the kind of thing I like to do: they tracked each engines' response to a variety of search queries to see what types of multimedia content they're integrating into their results pages, and how far up the page these multimedia results appear. You can see the results of their image webtrack here, and the results of their video webtrack here.
Unfortunately there's not a lot of detail or analysis -- and nothing along the lines of best practices -- but the blog Inside Facebook has posted a useful list of every possible way companies can use Facebook for marketing. It'd make a good read for executives who want to understand the breadth of marketing opportunities on social networks, or anyone brainstorming a Facebook campaign.