VTT RESEARCH NOTES 2384
"Ads by Google" and other social media business models
VTT TIEDOTTEITA – RESEARCH NOTES 2384
“Ads by Google” and other social media business models
Petteri Kangas, Santtu Toivonen & Asta Bäck (eds.)
ISBN 978-951-38-6917-5 (nid.) ISSN 1235-0605 (nid.) ISBN 978-951-38-6918-2 (URL: http://www.vtt.fi/publications/index.jsp) ISSN 1455-0865 (URL: http://www.vtt.fi/publications/index.jsp) Copyright © VTT 2007 JULKAISIJA – UTGIVARE – PUBLISHER VTT, Vuorimiehentie 3, PL 1000, 02044 VTT puh. vaihde 020 722 111, faksi 020 722 7053 VTT, Bergsmansvägen 3, PB 1000, 02044 VTT tel. växel 020 722 111, fax 020 722 7053 VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Vuorimiehentie 3, P.O.Box 1000, FI-02044 VTT, Finland phone internat. +358 20 722 111, fax + 358 20 722 7053
Technical editing Maini Manninen
Edita Prima Oy, Helsinki 2007
Kangas, Petteri, Toivonen, Santtu & Bäck, Asta (eds.). “Ads by Google” and other social media business models. Espoo 2007. VTT Tiedotteita – Research Notes 2384. 59 p. Avainsanat: social media, Web 2.0, Internet, business model
Social media is becoming more and more attractive to Web users. However, the majority of social media services do not have a clear business model. Typically an innovative idea gives birth to a service, which people can use free of charge. The most common way to create revenue is via advertisements: Google ads appear in many services. In the long run, however, social media has to adopt alternative means for making money. At the moment there are a few alternative business models, of which four larger themes are reported: Crowd-sourcing, revenue sharing between services and users, developing and selling underlying technologies, and adopting social media tools and approaches for professional use. Some examples of these approaches already exist. The report also identifies and defines some core concepts of social media, as well as investigates various phenomena co-occurring with social media, namely user activeness, identity, copyrights, mobility, trust, and side-effects. These phenomena should be kept in mind when designing and launching social media products and services.
In early winter 2006, a decision was made at VTT that social media business opportunities should be studied and identified. YouTube and MySpace received major media coverage almost every day. It seemed that enthusiasm about the possibilities of new technology intensified to a level comparable to the turn of the millennium. When Google acquired YouTube in October 2006, there was even talk of a “mini-bubble” in Silicon Valley with reference to the events at the turn of the millennium. However, very few had any idea of the business models on which the new social media applications were based. Is “Ads by Google” the only viable method of earning, or could some novel and different ways of making money be found? During the work, we identified the business models presently in use and got some hints about the kinds of workable models that might be introduced in the future. Work with social media will continue at VTT, and the aim is to utilise the findings from this publication in the development of new technologies and services. This publication was compiled in the spirit of social media: The publication was written in a wiki environment. Only the final version was transferred to a word processor. This publication was firstly published as closed beta version for a Finnish audience. It was written in Finnish in order to get better feedback. Based on the comments of the closed beta version, some modifications were made in this public version, which is written in English. The changes are mainly in the analysis of the future possibilities. In addition to the editors, Jukka Kiviniemi, Jukka Hemilä and Matti Penttilä have contributed to the authoring in the wiki.
Espoo, April 2007 The authors