by Liza Hausman and David A. Yovanno
There is a timely AdAge article today entitled What Happens When Facebook Trumps Your Brand Site? I say timely because we released a whitepaper today on the intersection of social and search – and in particular Facebook’s Open Graph Protocol – and how it shifts the center of gravity and central presence for any brand or online business back to their own website. This shouldn’t be controversial – it’s what Facebook had in mind when they converted the “Fan” page concept to like. A site that adds Open Graph tags and the Facebook Like button to their corporate site has the same ability to communicate with people who click “Like” from their web page as they do if that “Like” happens on Facebook itself. They can still post to the newsfeed of those who liked them. They can still get insights. Dare Obasanjo, one of Microsoft’s most influential tech thinkers wrote an excellent blog post on the Open Graph and its implications, noting “with the Open Graph Protocol any site can become part of the Facebook social graph. This is a very powerful and liberating concept both from the perspective of what it enables Facebook’s platform to do, but also because it gets rid of some ugly forms of lock-in. For example, Robert Scoble would no longer need to maintain a brand presence on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/scobleizer that is different from his website at http://www.scobleizer.com to stay connected with fans of his blog who are Facebook users.” Brands and businesses now have the ability to manage their Facebook presence from within their own website – a major breakthrough.
The idea of a semantic web is something we’ve always been excited about. When technology enables improved discovery tools for both websites and people, it’s a win-win. While social network search (today’s option for semantic search) is still quite small, it is potentially very powerful in that it is characterized by both a high degree of user intent (a search for something specific) and a high degree of social influence (user considers result to be personalized to his/her preferences and those of his/her social network). These characteristics are plotted here: