David Birnbaum, Takkle
Michael Lazerow, BuddyMedia
Steve Ennen, Neighborhood America
Monetizing Social Networks was a revealing event where companies shared their secrets for extracting revenue from his key Web 2.0 phenomenon. The basic challenge is that the trusted social environment of these networks makes it hard to pay of referrals or otherwise tap the interactivity of the medium.
The favored solution is a high involvement contest or ratings game. The extent and variations are all over the place but they call come down to this key Web 2.0 idea we call "Collaboratition" driving people to work for you by creating a competitive environment. The main thing here is that people are encouraged to spread the work and grow the campaign virally.
Brands are typically using them to expand involvement with their products and the system, according to Lazerow is forming into the next ad unit.