Monetizing Social Networks. The simplest analogy possible!

Aside from the big players in social media making money via advertisers and cutting deals with some of technologies biggest hitters, there are more social sites that do not make money then there are those that do. What do they do? How are they going to make money?

Obviously one of the ways to create a social networking site that actually makes money is to niche-ify it to the extent that is speaks to a specific type of brand user and all the products or services that can be wrapped around the user. Picture the hot dog . Thats right, you are the hot dog. Your social network, the hot dog. You are going to be interested in all things related to you. 

Now the hot dog has the bun, the ketchup, the mustard, the relish,and the onions. All viable participants in the network. Including our friends chil and cheese. Couple with that will be napkins,  something cold to drink and perhaps to go with the hot dog, a side of chips.

All of these mentioned make perfect sense. They are viable, channel driven, niche driven, complimentary, cross promotional products that speak to the center of the social network universe known as is…the hot dog,

The problems arise when something that is totally irrelevant tries to crash the party. And interestingly enough, you would be surprised how often the following happens:

The best example of a lot of people trying to crash the party is perhaps the frenzy that is Myspace and Facebook. The frenzy of advertisers wanting to take advantage of million and millions of customers waiting(or are they?) to be pitched. Problems can arise from people who try and crash a party that they’re not invited to. Some great examples can be found in Jeremiah Owyangs post on brands that got punked by social media

As an advertiser, one just needs to know and it’s not like it’s that difficult. Are you the windshield, are you the bug? Are you the louisville slugger, are you the ball? Are you the hot dog? are you the bun? Or are you window cleaner that is the upsell to a box of triscuits?