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.
However, since the involvement factor is exactly what makes these networks so compelling that is where these there companies have developed solutions. (As an example of this involvement factor we showed how under 30's were willing to make complete fools of themselves taking on a Zulu dancer where a generation before them would have been content simply to watch.)
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.