I’m at DLD Conference in Munich. Today is the second day and the first topic is (finally) Social Networking. An impressive panel got up on stage: Reid Hoffmann (founder and former CEO of LinkedIn), Joanna Shields (President of Bebo), Matt Cohler (VP of Strategy and Operations at Facebook), Lars Hinrichs (CEO of Xing), Sean Parker (‘forgotten’ founder of Napster, Plaxo and Facebook), Andrew Nabergoj (founder of new east European social network noovo.com). The panel is moderated by Marc Samwer, who recently bought a stake in Facebook (see also TechCrunch article)
A third of the members of Facebook are from Europe and with their translation application coming up it will be interesting to see if Facebook can hurt local social networks. The translations are done by the Facebook community, with some help of professional translation bureaus. German, French and Spanish versions of Facebook are being tested as we speak and many many more languages will follow in the near future. To be successful in a local market more than just a translation is needed, local applications will also play a major role in the uptake are already in use in the UK and according to Matt, the reactions are great.
As you can see in the short film, Matt professionally ignores the question if Facebook is going to acquire European local Social Networks and talks about Facebook’s focus on their internationalization strategy, when the same question is asked again Matt starts smiling stating that it is a possibility but it is still to early to draw conclusions.
Let’s take a wild guess and come up with some potential social networks to be acquired by Facebook.
Why? Bebo is the nr1. social network in the UK, profitable and innovative.
Why? Germany is a huge market and might be hard for foreign companies to conquer. StudiVZ has a similar interface
Why? Hyves is by far the number 1 social network in the Netherlands. Other competitors already tried to enter the Dutch market without any success.
Why? Netlog is the biggest European social network with strong presence in several European countries. Big in Belgium, France and Turkey.
I think Facebook will push their local versions hard and only if the results are worse than expected they will look at a possible acquisition. Seems like some fierce competition is coming up in the Social Network space.