FacebookEarlier this year, Facebook launched their platform which allowed developers to create applications within Facebook.

Developers created additional features, productivity tools, games, and drew in content from external sources. This added value to the Facebook offering, and proud developers and companies helped further publicise Facebook by creating press releases and adding links from their website.
This helped accelerate their astonishing growth, and possibly contributed to reasons why Microsoft decided to pay a shocking $240 million for a 1.6% stake in Facebook. Clearly a very good move for Facebook… But for Microsoft??

Facebook enjoys a highly educated, and affluent demographic due to their roots as a University oriented social network. Users freely give detailed and personal data about their interests, activities, contact details and experience. So you would think this would be a very attractive proposition for advertisers – but surprisingly, Facebook has a very low click through rate on their adverts (0.04% in 2006).

Another thing that may concern Microsoft, is that Google have launched OpenSocial, and the major social networks decided to jump on board.
Ning explains OpenSocial very well on their blog : Ning Blog Video
As they suggest in the film, this is likely to dramatically change the face of the social networking landscape. In my opinion it opens up opportunities for the next YouTube, Facebook or MySpace.

Here’s Google’s cheesy ‘campfire’ explanation :

(try to ignore the “we’re taking over the world” subtext).

For more background information on this: