Jay Stevens is the Vice President of Operations for MySpace Europe. He's got a long background in the internet industry, and shared with me his background in communications and the web.
Key nuggets from his presentation:
History of MySpace: Launched in Jan 2004, by Tom Anderson and Chris de Wolfe. Grown from roughly 1MM uniques throughout Europe to more than 24MM today. There are currently 175 employees in 10 European territories.
What's a social network? Individual profiles, semi persistent public commentary on the profile, a traversable public articulated social network displayed in correlate to the profile. -From Dana Boyd
My Home is my playground: Identity and Identification in the Internet
Presentation by Lars Schwenk, Managing Director of Cyworld EMEA
There are four parts to a community: Communication, Collaboration, Self-Expression, and Peeping. Bars are the original community. Cyworld is about sponsoring, not advertising. Users buy items to self express themselves. Created a online event for an art festival called "Bright". Brands can create your own branded virtual items and let users in Cyworld use it. Self expression with identities is what Cyworld is all about. Are social networks killing themselves from too much advertising? People are willing to pay for digital items, or for sponsored environments rather than advertising. Currently adoption of virtual goods is 4% but could grow to 40%, there's a change happening.
Both Facebook and MySpace have launched profile and network targeted advertising and marketing products. As they both use member interests and the communities which they are part of, trust continues to become key in adoption as information is passed along the network. The sheer size of MySpace’s member base, as well as the thriving local business membership will lead to success. Facebook, which brings a unique solution evolves advertisements to endorsements and encourages members to subscribe to a brand in what we are calling “Fan-Sumers” (an evolution of the consumer). As consumers share their affinities, brands can advertise using trusted social relationships.
Data: Highest trust comes from friends or acquaintances
(Left Graph: Consumers trust their friends and acquaintances far more than any other sources --Forrester Research, 2007)
Trust is and will continue to be one of the most important attributes in the decision making process.