bradley horowitz, one of yahoo’s top strategic thinkers, has posted an insightful piece on how he and yahoo view the economics of value creation in social media. people have long accepted the idea that 1-2% of community participants do 80-90% of the posting. on sites like craigslist, one might consider these people ‘market makers’ as they keep a certain amount of ‘liquidity’ by posting fresh stuff and responding to others. this works so that most of us can stop by once a year and still find a vibrant market.
sounds like he views communities in general working in a similar fashion. one might argue that these ‘lurkers’ are even worth more as they are in a less sticky more surfing mode. many of have found this content while surfing through google and are more likely to leave which ironically makes them more monetizable through related ads. one problem many community sites like ivillage faced in web 1.0 before the new world of open surfing was being too sticky.