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Online Social Networks
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Where Does Real Estate Fit In?

Social networking is a concept that’s been around since J.A. Barnes first coined the term in a sociology report back in 1954.  It moved onto the Web in 1995 with the launch of ClassMates, SixDegrees, Epinions and Friendster. Then of course came MySpace and Facebook and the world would never be the same again.

It’s clear that marketers are embracing social networking as reflected in the projections for advertising on these sites.  According to the advertising and marketing research firm eMarketer, ad spending on U.S. social networking sites in 2007 was projected to reach $865 million.  This is up from $350 million in 2006 with expectations that it will increase to $2.15 billion in 2010.

As every major consumer advertiser realizes that if you can engage effectively with these newly networked masses they become agents of your brand.  Just look at how fans dress in “branded” clothing at sporting events – now multiply that by millions of social networkers and you begin to get a picture of the potential. 

Another research firm,, calculates that in 2007 Americans spent about 12% of all their Internet time on social networks.  The Center for Medial Research reports that the average American spends 105 minutes of spare time online every day.  That represents almost 30 minutes per day in a social network; 15 hours per month or 4½ weeks per year.  Not to belabor the point but if you add in the average time Americans waste at work (2 hours/day), of which over 44% is spent on the Internet, the number of hours expended on social networking becomes huge. 

As people make social networking sites a bigger part of their lives online, communities are also shaping the real estate business and the home buying process.



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