As an internet entrepreneur one of the most significant fears you can have is that Google will begin offering a competing product or service for free. Both small and large companies fear the day Google will launch a competing free product. Just ask Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer his thoughts on Google Docs, I’m sure he won’t be enthusiastic about it.
If you are an executive at a mobile social network compny, any new service rolled out by Facebook and MySpace would most likely have the same effect. There is a large group of competing social networks that have built sizable audiences including Mocospace, MyGamma, Peperonity, Itsmy, and a few others. The biggest challenge facing those networks? I would suggest Facebook and MySpace are the largest challenges.
According to a study released yesterday, out of all users of mobile social networks “nearly 70% have visited MySpace and another 67% had visited Facebook. No other social networking site reached 15% adoption mobile adoption.” This is substantial and it appears that Facebook and MySpace are simply blowing by the competition in a short period of time.
According to the research, the most popular activities on mobile devices is checking messages and comments followed by posting status updates. This also goes to show how Facebook and MySpace are rapidly substituting many of the features provided by Twitter, a company which has yet to find a sufficient business model.
One of the core takeaways from the study is that mobile social networks, and not email, are becoming the central hub for communication for those connecting on mobile devices. This has huge implications for the future of social networks as it suggests that the social networks are becoming a more integral component of users’ every day communication.
I for one receive business communications via Facebook on a regular basis. While the average users may not have hit that point, the trend is in that direction. The only remaining question is not whether users will continue to adopt social networks on their mobile devices, but what social networks they will use over the next 12 to 24 months.
I would suggest that we will continue to see a shift that significantly favors Facebook and MySpace. Given that the data in this study is from the second quarter, new data will most likely suggest a continuation of this shift. Do you think competing mobile social networks have a chance? If so, where are the largest opportunities?