Facebook Application Pays Members

Dennis Faas's picture

Social networking sites that connect millions of users are increasingly the target of creative marketing strategies concocted by independent businesses. Facebook, with its 67million users is amongst the largest potential market available to these schemes.

Until now, most marketing strategies entailed advertising on social networking sites, either directly or through proxy users. However, Denver-based bSocial Networks has introduced a new marketing strategy that attempts to use Facebook applications to generate sales. The company claims that this is "the first consumer-to-consumer (C2C) eCommerce engine for social networks live on Facebook and MySpace, to monetize user-generated recommendations without relying on an online advertising model." (Source: agoravox.com)

Central to this strategy is the average Facebook user, who the company hopes will recommend products to individuals on their 'friends list'. Facebook users can currently add the Market Lodge 2.0 application, developed by bSocial Networks, and set up a customized store on their profiles. Any sale of items recommended by the Facebook user will result in a 10% commission to that individual, providing a strong monetary incentive.

Unlike eBay and Amazon.com (which allow individuals to create customized store-fronts) the Market Lodge application does not require its users handle any backend transactions. Currently, more than 1,200 products are sold by 50 authorized vendors. Items currently available include self-help books, organic food, jewellery, yoga DVDs and accessories. (Source: digitaljournal.com)

While Market Lodge may give independent businesses the opportunity to target a virtual market of millions, its current commission rate is set at a steep 35%, of which 25% goes to bSocial Networks. Furthermore, Market Lodge currently offers shipping only within the United States, which is counterintuitive to what a social networking community on the internet represents.

Privacy concerns, similar to those expressed against the Facebook application 'Beacon', which resulted in a popular revolt amongst users were dismissed by co-president, Sue Spielman, who said that the application does not monitor purchases. (Source: wsj.com)

Over 1,300 users have added Market Lodge to date, and its success could lead to the increasing commercialization of social networking websites.

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