Welcome to aaron chua make money blog

Hi, welcome to my blog. In this part of my world, I talked about how to achieve financial freedom by learning how to make money online through creating sites and earning from them.

Below are some current and past make money projects that details my learning journey.

My current experiment in making 50 amazon site niches. If you have not been following this challenge, best place to start is this resource page for the amazon challenge, that lists all the articles that I have written so far.

My experiment in making 1000 a month through adsense in 9 months.

If you came here looking for low cost startup ideas, here are 140 startup ideas that you can browse through.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Interactions that can enrich our social networks

Continuing from my previous post, I want to be sharper in drawing out the opportunities in social networks. More specifically, I want to suggest some possible interactions that have missing in many of the current social networks that we see.

The current way we conduct commerce is very inefficient. One of the contributors is the amount of resources we spent on blind advertising. Social networks can replace the inefficiencies by becoming a powerful referral network that recommends the right products and services for their communities, taking into account the members' context. It can potentially transform commerce and become the default way we buy and consumer stuff. That is the true potential of social networks.

To accomplish that, we need richer interactions that goes beyond what our current social networks offer. We need to learn from offline communities about the institutional innovations they have put in place that grows and strengthens communities. Below is a list of initial thoughts on what kinds of richer interactions are needed.

i) Celebrating the achievements of the community through awarding of status
Offline communities such as religion, or hobbyists groups celebrate achievements. They have rituals that celebrate new members as well as the contributions of current members to the community. We are missing all these in our current social networks. We need to be able to see and highlight members' contributions through explicit status (gold, sliver, bronse membership) that are given when they:

-bring in new members
-brought publicity to the community
-highlight false members i.e. companies trying to pass off as real people
-have a perfect record of attending every offline meeting
-bring in strategic partners that bought revenue to the community etc

ii) Marketplace
Social networks should come with a list of service providers for the community that can be ranked and compared. This is how social networks can become powerful referral network. A social network for startups for example should have a list of legal, rental, administrative, hosting services etc that allow members to rate and review. Similarly, a community of DIY homeowners should have a list of DIY service providers.

iii) Allowing members to reward each other
Our current way for members to reward each other is through social gestures. We can be more explicit. Why not allow a tipjar on each of the profile page so that members can give real money for the good that particular members have bought to the community? If a member has bought in 50 new guys, why can't I reward him for it by tipping him $1?

iv) Membership identifier
How can we better identify with our communities? In real world communities, we have tshirts, baseball caps etc that identify us with certain groups. Why is that missing in our social networks? The opportunity here is use virtual identifiers that can scale much more efficiently as well as create new kinds of value. Think about, for example credit cards with virtual currencies that allows members to purchase real goods and servcies.

v) Real time info on how the community is growing
People care about the communities they belong to. They want to see how it is growing, in which segments and locations, the growth of members' contributions, the total revenue generated by the community etc. Seeing growth has a motivational effect of encouraging members to be more active. However, I don't see this in many social networks. The most often used marker is the number of registered users. I think there is room for more innovations.