I went to Mashmeet DC tonight. The event was held here in DC and had a decent turn out of tech geeks and Internet nerds. Lots of elbow rubbing and a lot of innovative ideas. Several creative teams touted their projects, some very impressive and some indistinguishable from their competition.
I realized that market saturation has occurred on the Internet. Internet users can only participate in so many sites at any given time. For example, creating a new social book marking site doesn’t make sense, no matter what your gimmick, because they essentially all do the same thing – store your links for future use and sharing. Sure, a start-up bookmarking site may add a new feature or two, but will I quit using del.icio.us because another social news site offers a special widget?
I doubt it. People tend to stick with the familiar. The Frontline special, Persuaders, reports that people consistently choose Pepsi over Coke in blind taste tests, but that will people continue to ask for Coke even after being told they like Pepsi. I feel this can be applied to these new start-ups. Users identify with their social media brand, and will not change their habits even if they know your site is more efficient and may better cater to their needs.
What would convince me to suddenly stop using my current social bookmark archive and switch? Providing an easy way to transfer all my current items into the new system would be a mitigating factor. I can’t imagine abandoning everything I’ve tagged over the past three or so years for a marginally better service. It would be like trading in your 2007 model car for the 2008 version because the dash was changed to blue. Without a significant improvement in service and innovation, it doesn’t really make sense to upgrade.