Today's Journal Gazette includes a great AP story on the shift from macro to micro social networks. A sample:
MySpace, Facebook and, to a smaller degree, Bebo may be getting most of the attention, but social-networking sites geared toward hobbies, sports and other specific interests – alongside those targeting certain age groups, ethnicities or diseases – are finding growing success as supplements to the larger online hangouts or even as replacements.In addition to benefiting their members, these niche networks also benefit advertisers by providing them with access to a targeted audience, which in turn allows the sites to charge a premium for ad space:
As the larger sites struggle to capitalize on their diverse membership, the specialty sites believe they can offer advertisers a smaller, but passionate audience for which they’d be willing to pay more – as much as 10 times more...So the next time you're considering buying ads on MySpace or Facebook, dig a little deeper. If you've done an adequate job of defining your target audience, there may be a better choice out there.