The business of “liking” things….

By Posted in - Marketing & Social Media & Strategy & Technology on May 10th, 2011
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Mashable is running a series called “The Spark of Genius Series” on which they feature “unique feature of startups” and, in a post called “Startup Makes Facebook Likes Searchable”, recently covered a business called Likester, which is a “searchable database of what gets Liked on Facebook”.

The basic business idea is to show trends among friends, locations, categories and the world.

With my digital marketeer hat on, this is a good idea. It reminds me of Digg (which is really what the “Like” button is… Digg + Facebook) which was more or less the same thing. Log in, look at stuff, “digg” it and then visit “digg” to see what you dug, what other people like you dug, what else you might digg and so on.

Great idea… but will it work?

Having data on what people like from a brand/marketing perspective is invaluable. Having data about what my friends and contacts like is also very useful to me. But if you went to the average Facebook user and said, “Hey try our new website where you can find out trends, locations and categories of things that your friends like?” I’d guess that their reaction might be “Isn’t that what Facebook already does?”

However, as a proposition to a Marketing or Comms Department, this could be compelling. Comprehensive statistics and data about their fans’ likes and dislikes… and obviously the likes and dislikes of their fans’ fans is very important to any business that’s trying to engage with people online.

It’s a natural progression to the popularity of the “Like” button. Which, as my last post about the “Google +1” button shows, is a place that everyone’s rushing to get into.

The interesting question for me is why Facebook wouldn’t just launch something like this themselves. With agencies shelling out money for tools like Radian6 and the emergence of major platforms like Syncapse, there’s definitely money to be made in the world of collecting and utilising data on people’s online social interactions. And more importantly, I’m beginning to wonder how much longer Facebook will be my preferred platform of choice as it seems that whilst it’s value to me as an individual was once clear (a way to feel more connected to friends), it’s becoming as big and ubiquitous as the internet itself. I wince everytime I “like” another brand, product, business, service, blog posting as each time I do, I know that my once very engaging News Feed is slowly but surely becoming as confusing to me as my inbox did once.

(Maybe this has something to do with the recent shrink in Facebook’s share of time spent on Social Networks in the UK, as reported by Brand Republic in “YouTube nabs a fifth of all UK social traffic”).

Maybe the world is just too big for us to like everything… maybe the old adage (or maybe not so old, but mentioned by Karl Pilkington on “An Idiot Abroad”, which I watched recently) about not needing more than 7 friends is true in this “digital age” of “Liking” everything and being connected to everything.

As always, I’ll pay attention to this (so you don’t have to). I’ve signed up for Likester, and their competitor Booshaka (who have been at this for a bit longer).

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