Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Facebook (et al), OpenID and network effects

Dare Obasanjo at Carnage4Life has got it exactly right about Facebook (and others) as it relates to the network effect. This is the first time I've seen the network effect mentioned in regard to Facebook, but this is exactly what is happening. It's scary as crap, and unfortunately they will not be stopped.

I don't like it one bit, but we can complain all we want -- this is our new reality. We either figure out how to play or our internet presence will become totally irrelevant:

Openness isn’t why Facebook is currently being valued at $6 billion nor is it why MySpace is currently expected to pull in about half a billion in revenue this year. These companies are doing just great being walled gardens and thanks to network effects, they will probably continue to do so unless something really disruptive happens.

So what might that "really disruptive" thing be? Someone at Facebook gets an ounce of conscious and does the right thing? They decide to become responsible netizens? They surprise us all and become the first major player to openly embrace OpenID?

I won't hold my breath-- just my nose. I'm voting on the side of greed and control carrying the day. After all, we've seen this play out before. I can't begin to tell you how happy I will be if the day comes when I have to eat these words.

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