Google appears to be planning to introduce “Orkut Promote”, a self service advertising platform for its social networking site Orkut, reports Digital Inspiration. The platform apparently allows users regular Orkut users to promote their content to others in the community – whether photos, videos or text content. Advertisers will be charged for ads on the service, while Orkut users won’t have to pay a fee for promotion. Google appears to have since removed the page introducing Orkut Promote, but it still does show up on search results (screencap; thanks Amit).
Readers should note that ibibo.com had also introduced a service called iScream, allowing their registered users to promote themselves on ibibo. In that case, however, usage of the service was being monetized via a premium SMS (charged at Rs. 3), of which Ibibo would most likely get a percentage cut.
How Orkut Promote Helps Google
The issue with advertising on social networks has been that of a lack of monetizable intent: they’re on social networks to communicate with others, not looking for a service. The propensity to click on an advertisement is lower. However, if content or an advertisement is more personalized, then the propensity to click (hence generate revenues) is higher. That’s what something like Orkut Promote enables – by allowing users to either select or trash both content or advertisements, Google can understand user preferences better, and deliver ads based on the information they’ve gathered. Digital Inspiration suggests that Digg had also allowed users to dismiss ads recently.
Remember that once upon a time, email services used to operate on providing contextual advertising based on user preferences identified while signing up; this is a reverse model, asking users to dismiss ads and content they are being served anyway or choose to keep those ads.
Question is: will users really take time out to love or hate an advertisement?