The emergence of legitimate social media business models in the professional and b2b markets has been rather halting, especially if excluding pure plays like LinkedIn or “mere” extensions of online advertising inventory in B2B media. (This was brought home to me in the process of organizing last year’s social networking panel at this conference.) So another theme deserving note emerged in signs of more fundamental integration of user generated content and social networking with high value information services.
Robert Barber, CEO of Environmental Data Resources, described how that company is using social media to add “an asset with defensive value and monetization potential.” EDR’s core user group, environmental professionals hired by banks and real estate investors to assess potential environmental hazards, can now comment on what they found – enhancing “official” (and publicly) available data with current, expert intelligence that (assuming its lead benefits from typical “network effects”) current and future (e.g. Google) competitors will find difficult to match.
In a more purely defensive vein, McGraw-Hill’s Glenn Goldberg noted how his division’s J.D. Power & Associates business unit had acquired Umbria Inc., a social media-specialized marketing intelligence provider, to buttress J.D. Powers’ annual syndicated surveys in an era of vastly-more democratized product ratings and real-time brand management. Similarly, Jon Gibbs, VP of media analytics for Nielsen online, described how Nielsen is integrating its early acquisition of social-media-mining pioneer BuzzMetrics into “’on the fly’ customer projects combining BuzzMetrics, surveys, and traffic measure to help define the most relevant answers to advertisers’ needs for better insights into audiences and markets.