Some of the world's best known brands have begun embracing social networking in hopes of reaching a young, Internet-savvy audience, says Peter Friedman, CEO of LiveWorld, which creates and manages private-label social networks for large companies including A&E Television Networks, Campbell Soup Co. [CPB] and Kraft Foods Inc. [KFT].
"Many companies are adding more social networking activities," Friedman tells Tech Confidential in our Behind the Money video interview. "Our business is all about helping major brands market through the use of social networking."
LiveWorld recently released LiveBar, a new product that provides commenting capabilities reminiscent of Twitter Inc.'s microblogging service. Tulane University is one of the first to use LiveBar.
Friedman has been developing social networking services since the mid-1980s when he was the general manager of Apple Inc.'s [AAPL] online business unit. He founded LiveWorld [LVWD.PK] in 1996. He's seen a lot of changes during the past 20-plus years, but he says the biggest is in user behavior.
"The most significant thing is what we call Generation C, for 'community connected,' and it's anyone born after 1978," Friedman explains. "They grew up with the Internet in one hand, a cell phone in the other and video games in between. Their brains have literally evolved differently, and they operate in society differently. This changes the game for all marketers because their audience behaves differently and sees everything through a social network context."
When asked how LiveWorld's business model is different from that of Ning, the well-publicized white-label social network provider co-founded by Marc Andreessen and Gina Bianchini that has raised $104 million, Friedman says LiveWorld charges for its services, much like a marketing agency, rather than relying on advertising. Other competitors include Lithium Technologies, which in June raised a $12 million Series B led by Benchmark Capital.
We caught up with Friedman at the Web 2.0 Expo in New York earlier this month. For video interviews with other attendees, see our talks with Union Square Ventures co-founder Fred Wilson, conference organizer Tim O'Reilly, "Lonelygirl15" creators Miles Beckett and Greg Goodfried, Get Satisfaction co-founder and president Lane Becker and InsideView founder and CEO Umberto Milletti. - Mary Kathleen Flynn</
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