Larry Brauner

Many readers will recall that late in August I discussed money making opportunities in the online social networking industry.

I said that the industry was hot, was growing, and was worth some attention and speculation.

I suggested promoting Yuwie, a free MySpace-like site that paid a share of its ad revenue to users. I rejected paid membership sites, since the trend indicated that sites were giving more and more to members without any charge.

I was right about two things. One, the industry is hot. And two, you can certainly keep your credit card in your wallet.

The industry is so hot that new sites with the most exotic names are cropping up daily, each looking for a piece of the pie, and many willing to pay members to use and promote them.

The market is expanding with new users, but I don’t believe that it is expanding rapidly enough to support the proliferation of sites.

My prediction is that the lion’s share of new industry players will fail to reach the critical mass required to sustain themselves long term.

Whether any particular one will make it or not, your guess is probably as good as mine. However, let me offer you a plan of action.

  1. Use social networking sites to network, to make new friends, to make new business contacts, and to make deals. Do not use them only to get paid by them. If you want to make money, doing business through these sites has much more potential than creating income streams from the sites themselves.
  2. Join, use and refer people to sites that you enjoy, that offer the services you want, and that attract the types of people you wish to network with. Do not join sites because you are impressed by their hyped-up revenue sharing plan.
  3. Avoid paid membership sites unless they are the only ones that provide the services you require and attract the clientele you seek.
  4. It’s tempting to join loads of cool sites and spread yourself thin. Do not do it. Limit yourself to just a few. If you spread yourself too thin, you’ll miss the opportunity to get to know people on any of the sites, and you’ll be no more than a virtual social butterfly.
  5. Invite people you meet on one site to join you on another site, especially a well established site such as MySpace. This way your friendship can survive a site’s demise. And not only that, when people connect on more than one site they tend to establish a stronger bond than when they connect on only one.
  6. Take stock often of the situation to determine whether you need to change your strategy. When you drive a car, you need to be looking beyond the car ahead of you. Here too you must try to anticipate trouble ahead.
  7. Don’t hold it against me if I recommend a site to you that doesn’t work out. After all I can’t see into the future, and I’m making educated guesses based on what I know presently and my strong sense of intuition. (This is my disclaimer.)
  8. Have fun! Yes, I said that. Social networking online or offline ought to be fun.

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