Interview mit Keynote-Speaker Amaury de Buchet zu Erfolgsfaktoren der Top-Social Networks

Im Rahmen unserer Konferenzen machen wir ja immer wieder Pre-Conference-Interviews – hier ist nun eins mit Amaury de Buchet – seines Zeichens Geschäftsführer des französischen Research-Unternehmens faberNovel in Paris. Ich habe ihn zum Community SUMMIT eingeladen, weil ich ein interessantes Reseach-Paper von ihm bzw. seines Unternehmens im Internet gefunden habe. Dabei geht es um die Ergebnisse eines Research der großen Social Networks – hierüber wird er dann auch in der kommenden Woche berichten und im Vorfeld hat er mir ein paar Fragen beantwortet:

Interview

1) Mr de Buchet, you are one of the keynote speackers at the upcoming Community SUMMIT. How would you tag your speech using three keywords?

Conversation, multi-channel, 2-sided markets

2) You conducted a research on the top tier of social networks. In your opinion who is doing the job best? And why?

The biggest challenge of social networks is to monetize their success.
The poor results of Facebook cast a shadow on their future, so I would rate Meetic as one of the best examples, as it was able to go to full subscripion, having advertising on top of that. Functioning as a social marketplace, it is a platform for social interactions (focused on dating) which has made itself an valuable feature of the daily life of millions of users

3) From this research what are the three key factors to success – besides reaching fast the critical mass and the tipping point for word-of-mouth?

Focus is the key word, not only to emerge from the mass but also to grow (remember the acronym KISS : Keep I Simple S…). Other KSF include an open (APIs, …), powerful and scalable platform, and an appetite for innovation
: always look around you for big and small ideas that you could integrate in your Social Network (such as the Map feature of Xing, or the in-feed comment feature of Facebook and Friendfeed).

4) What are the main challenges making use of this success factors?

To summarize the challenges one SoNet operator is facing, the best word is „2-sided markets“. A theory in economics developped independantly by Rochet & Tirole, and Parker & Van Alstyne, it explains the underlying structure of success of products such as Adobe Acrobat, Visa, VHS, … The role of a SoNet is to view its platform as an enabler for 2 distinct group of users : the „money“ side, and the „contributing“ side, and develop corresponding product offers and pricing so as to maximize the global usage volume and revenue

5) What is your opinion about the development of the social networking market? Will there be a consolidation within the top tier? Is there more space for new services? If yes, how do they need to be positioned?

As a market matures, it deversifies and segment itself : it is a marketing rule. The time for evangelization has passed, and now is coming the time for industralization. There are hundreds of SoNet frameworks available to pick from, as there was 10 years ago with ecommerce. Common features can now be refined and optimized for a goal : enhancing conversation. The remaining challenge is to extract value from those communications and exchanges, discarding old models (data transfered, connections made, software provided) and not relying only on advertising.
Some early attempts were made in the right directions : leveraging recommendation (Facebook’s „failed“ Beacon), contextualizing instant-purchases (the next step for in-text advertising), helping users with intelligent agents (AI’s return and the semantic web), …