Using an interesting story about Indian matchmakers, Bundeep Singh Rangar of Ariadne Capital makes a compelling point about monetizing social networks; money is made at convergence events:
It's at the point of the marriage event that the money kicks in. Indians spend about almost $4.5 billion a year on wedding-related gold jewelry alone. And another $2 billion is spent on catering, clothing, resorts, and venues.
For social networking to be fully monetized, the nodes in the social network need a convergence event. These events provide a focal point where new networks are created and existing ones utilized. That's why Aunty-jee needs a wedding. Her monetization is in the form of gifts, party invites, and a cache of social capital.
So, here's the prediction. While some money will be made by social networking companies by subscriptions, online transactions, and licensing of software, the really big money will be made by the vertical integration of online networking and offline networking.
The sum will be greater when there is a merger of social networking companies and conference and events organizers. That's where the merchandise, memberships, personnel, and company equity will be ultimately bought and sold.
The global conference industry totaled about $102 billion last year, according to Meeting Professionals International. That's a pretty lucrative market for the online social networks to target.From The Goddess of Social Networking :: AO
Referenced Fri Apr 09 2004 11:58:43 GMT-0600
This reminds me of the statement Zoe Teacher, online coordinator for the Dean campaign made to Ed Cone: "I'm obsessed with off-line." Why? Because that's where the action happens. Its at offline convergence events that the campaign gets its pay-off: votes. Zoe understood the point that Rangar was making even if the Dean campaign failed to drive these off-line convergence events as successfully as they needed to.