by Stuart Ridgway, Original Music for Film and Television

This article is Part 3 in a series of four articles about the Web 2.0 Summit 2009.  Make sure you read Part 1 and Part 2 first.

Reality Check

Let’s go round the horn and take a look at some of the trends happening out there.  Did you know that there really is money to be made on virtual goods?   Mark Pincus, Founder of Zynga describes how users of his Facebook games pay for the virtual thing they need.  Need more seeds for your FarmVille farm?   There’s a checkout stand for that.   Need more poker chips?  There’s a pit boss…

Thought SecondLife had died?  Not so fast. There’s a burgeoning community that thrives on trading virtual goods. Does your avatar need a new outfit? There are designers who will sew you a new e-dress. Want to hear some new music? Musicians abound with concerts, mp3s and all kinds of swag for sale. It may look like the transactions are virtual, but real cash does change hands.

If you got a chance to download the Web Squared white paper I mentioned in Part 1 of this article, you may be as impressed as I am to read about the possibilities that could grow out of all of our social connections.  As Mark Pincus puts it, “Facebook is the plumbing.”  As the exchange of data grows linearly, our connections grow exponentially.

And that’s where the true power of the Internet lies.  For more insight check out the terrific presentation by Sean Parker, Managing Partner of Founders Fund.  He explains why companies like Facebook, Twitter, Ebay and Apple (but not Google) will determine the future of the world.

Jonathan Miller, CEO of Digital Media Group for News Corp, spoke about “buying an audience.”  If you were advertising to 14-year old girls wouldn’t you love to have access to all of the members of the “Twilight” group?  News Corp’s display ads on their Fox Audience Network are being sliced and diced by Omnicom Media Group to determine which sites are producing impression spikes and which are not.  More creepiness?  According to Miller, Omincom does not target unique profiles, only anonymous online consumers who share mutual interests like sports, movies, and music.

Speaking of 14-years olds, here are some insights from a panel of teenagers interviewed by Safa Rashtchy, Former Managing Director and Sr. Research Analyst at Piper Jaffray and Co.:

  • Coolest thing online?  Facebook, free games, quizzes.
  • Music?  Why pay for it when you can find it for free
  • Would you use another search engine besides Google?  If paid to do so.
  • Do you shop online?  Notsomuch.
  • Do you watch TV?  Sure, YouTube and Hulu.
  • Why online?  Limited commercials and everything’s on demand.
  • How do you decide what you watch?  Search for whatever mood I’m in.  If I want something funny, I’ll search for comedy.

So, who’s got the power now?

Coming up next, the super-cool stuff in Part 4

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