Sunday, September 2, 2007

Buko Obele and the Tragedy of Web 2.0

Buko Obele, in a blog post at discipline and punish called "The Tragedy of Web 2.0," observes that the lack of mergers between social network providers is yet more evidence of the lack of applicability of Metcalfe's Law in this environment. He points out that the objectives of social network service providers may not be exactly aligned with the objectives of the users, and that this misalignment prevents consolidation and, in some cases, feature enhancement.

This corresponds to Odlyzko and Tilly's analysis "A refutation of Metcalfe's Law and a better estimate for the value of networks and network interconnections." Although, as I've observed, there are many cases when network connectivity value may only be linear, even if it is n log (n), as discussed by Odlyzko and Tilly, there still may be relatively weak incentives for consolidation.

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