The world’s youngest profession: Friendstitution

I just Googled the words and discovered there is no such thing as a “friendsitute” and no such occupation as “friendstitution.”

However, I think the world’s youngest profession should be called those as the New York Times has a story today about the service, Fake Your Space, that will rent you ‘friends’ for your MySpace profile page for 99¢ per friend, per month. Dave Winer calls it a “fantastic business model.”

Key item in article: “MySpace and other social-networking sites appear to have no rules prohibiting Mr. Walker’s idea.” Why would they? When the goal is to generate more page views and get more accounts registered, why do something that would limit the site to actual people? How many people on MySpace are actually who they say they are?

Sometimes when I come up these words, I will register the domain. However, other than coming up with the term, this is one I’d like not to be associated with in on-going way.

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Radar feature in WSJ has a video sidebar

Despite my many previous promises of no more posts about the longest-continuing story appearing on this weblog, I felt the need to link to free WSJ.com article about the re-re-launch of Radar as it is the first time I have ever seen a “video sidebar” in a WSJ.com article.

For the record, I hope the magazine is a big success. Heretofore, however, its hype-to-success ratio far surpasses any magazine in my memory. During previous over-hyped launches (potential writers for this magazine pitch stories about it to every reporter in their contacts), I exhausted everything I could ever have to say about the magazine, except to observe that this time, they started with a blog — and did a great job with it. Previous iterations displayed very little online savvy. Perhaps having the blog as the center of the brand and franchise may be the charm that makes the third time ’round a success.

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Checking in on the juggernaut that is Google

As I have been saying for a while, the business model of Google (or at least a significant chunk of it) is that of an advertising sales representation company. A sales agent, if you will. Sure, Google is a media company and a technology company that dominates search and also has created all manner of cool stuff. But as this article in the New York Times about new advertising deals Google has to embed video ads on major media company sites, when it comes to their relationship with media companies (traditional and new), they are not viewed as “the enemy” but as a revenue stream. A bigger and bigger stream.

Like independent advertising sales reps, Google sells ads that appear on the websites of media they do not own. (In their case, they also have plenty of owned inventory their ads appear on, as well.) They take a commission (I’ve seen it estimated from 20-30%, depending on the volume of advertising) in the manner of an independent sales rep. They now have a large sales force calling on media buyers and product marketers — just like independent sales reps.

In the past when I’ve pointed this out, I’ve had some really smart people respond with insightful reasons explaining to me why Google is the enemy of media sites. Others have pointed out that Google is the hot air inflating the current bubble of Web 2.0 startups: if Google stumbles, the bubble bursts. If Google hiccups, we’ll all die of pneumonia.

I am not wise enough to figure all of this out. However, I’ll keep cashing the checks* until I do.

*While no ads appear on this blog, I am associated with some other websites that do derive revenue from Google Adsense. I like the checks they send, but they are not a significant portion of my company’s overall revenue. But the stream grows bigger each month.

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