The PR battleground for social networks

With social networks like Facebook and MySpace in the news a great deal, I find it interesting to get a sense of the depth of behind-the-scenes business planning going on and the role of PR in that planning.

According to BrandRepublic:

Facebook hunts UK agency
A dozen UK PR agencies have been approached by Facebook as it sets out to challenge MySpace’s dominance in Europe. Agencies including Mantra and Fishburn Hedges have been invited to present their credentials to coincide with Facebook’s opening of a London office later this month. It will then whittle the longlist down to a pitch shortlist of five.

LinkedIn brings in Bite to safeguard its niche
Business networking site LinkedIn has asked Bite to boost its UK profile as Facebook threatens its dominance in professional circles. Tech specialist Bite won a seven-way pitch against agencies including Lewis and Chameleon. The US-based site’s ­international director Liz O’Donnell did not deny that competition from Facebook was a motivating factor for Bite’s appointment. ‘We didn’t have any PR in the UK before,’ she said. ‘Some of it had to do with competition, and some was just raising our brand’s profile.’

And a related story about a social network that doesn’t look like one but is one:

Wag Ed to launch virtual trade site
Waggener Edstrom has won a brief to launch GameXa, a trading platform that allows online game players to buy and sell virtual currencies. The site currently caters to gamers playing the hugely popular World of Warcraft, which has more than 6.5 million registered players worldwide. World of Warcraft currently makes more money from selling virtual currency, ‘gold’, than from subscriptions to the game itself.

Add that one to the story about the recent credit card launch in Second Life and you get a strong view of the high-stakes business opportunities that will be be fought over in the coming months.

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