In the good old days having a website was good enough... This was your portal to the world -- your customers and everyone else. But slowly but surely a wealth of new communities are being created and if you aren't part of them, you could risk losing tremendous market share. In other words, a single homogeneous Internet is no longer what marketers can count on.
In fact, some of the splintered Internet sites are so popular that if you aren't part of them, you could risk watching your brand wiped out.
Just yesterday in fact, Hasbro Inc. "woke up" to the fact that over 600,000 daily users utilize a Facebook application called Scrabulous which is a Scrabble clone. Scrabble -- the popular word-based board game is owned by Hasbro, the company which launched a lawsuit
hoping to shut Scrabulous down.
A point of note is that there are official Scrabble games online but Scrabulous was easy to play, on Facebook and free. It is for this reason that the game has such a massive daily audience. When you consider 600k users a day are being drawn away from the authorized Scrabble games online you realize that in this case we are talking about a "serious" splinter -- perhaps... One the size of a log.
This concept is not lost on CitySearch as the company just launched
a new Facebook application which allows users of the popular social networking platform to review and share their restaurant recommendations with their online community free of charge.
The application also allows the creation of custom restaurant lists and moreover allows sharing of these lists with other Facebook users.
Much of this functionality could be added to the CitySearch site and in fact some of these things can be done on the site today.
Still, CitySearch sees the rise of the Splinternet and has decided to embrace social networking as a way to ensure their brand lives on beyond the homogenious Internet.
The question is how will your company and others embrace and take advantage of the Splinternet? Will you get there early or wait until others take your mind share and be forced to start a lawsuit?
See also: CollaborationLoop What's Your Social Networking Strategy?
Facebook as the Internet