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The Social Network Business Plan: 18 Strategies That Will Create Great Wealth Hardcover – February 24, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Do you read the advertisements that appear on the social networking web sites you visit? Neither does anyone else! So, why do such hugely successful online communities as MySpace and Facebook rely solely on advertising to produce revenue and how long can they survive? Isn't there any other way for online communities to make money? Actually, there are eighteen other ways!

In The Social Network Business Plan, venture capital guru and Smart Start-Ups author David Silver reveals eighteen cutting-edge methods for generating income from social networking web sites—none of which involve advertising, and all of which really work.

Silver's premise is simple: There is a lot of money to be made by getting smart people talking about something that has commercial value and then selling their anonymized conversations to vendors. He goes on to reveal how all parties benefit from these arrangements, who gets paid and how much, how you get these smart people to start talking, and why vendors will pay to overhear these conversations.

At the core of each winning business model is the recommender online community, arguably the most powerful and disruptive force to emerge in the information age. These groups have already begun shaking up the advertising, marketing, sales, and public relations industries, and their influence is growing. Social networks are having a tectonic effect on several industries by shifting the power from the producer to the customer, or what is known as oligopsony power. Any savvy entrepreneur or investor who wants to get a jump on this emerging trend needs to understand the power of these groups and discover ways to tap it. This revolutionary guide helps you do just that. You'll discover how to:

  • Create an elegant online recommender community

  • Demonstrate your community's value to vendors

  • Make your enterprise a substitute for all the others

  • Operate multiple online recommender communities

  • Inspire passion and loyalty in your communities

  • Maximize your selling price

Online recommender communities are more than nice little businesses; they are poised to start filling Fortune 500 slots very, very soon. Read The Social Network Business Plan, and get in on the action before it's too late.

From the Back Cover

Praise for The Social Network Business Plan

"As the leading provider of 'white label' social networks, we use David's book as a conceptual blueprint for designing revenue applications into our software. We agree completely that traditional advertising is dead and social advertising is the future. David's book gives you a blueprint for succeeding in the future."
Bob Crull, founder and CEO,

"Online communities win when they figure out ways to collaborate with their fans to create products that can be produced and sold with mutual benefits. David Silver simply and clearly explains how social networks can do this. You'll also learn how this helps companies stay lean by generating cash through multiple channels. This is how great ideas turn small companies into fast selling companies."
Patrick Dillon, cofounder and President,

"I've started, built, and sold several web app companies, but social networks have web app companies beat. They cost less than $500,000 to launch, and if you get decent revenue growth, social networks can be sold for twenty times trailing revenues or more. No new industry has ever had these two characteristics that I'm aware of. David explains how to bring in revenue quickly through up to eighteen novel revenue channels. It's a good read."
Robin D. Richards, founder and CEO, Notification Technologies, Inc.

"For anyone interested in developing, building, and operating a social network, you need David Silver's book as a flight instruction manual. David brings his wealth of experience in online marketing, technology, and finance to you through the pages of this essential book."
Eric Targan, founder and CEO, BTC Interactive, "the Internet's first viral marketer"

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (February 24, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470419830
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470419830
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,650 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Tom R on February 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I got this book because I have been struggling to grow an online community for the last year. I've found that the technology is pretty straight forward. However, few books speak to three essentials: 1) delivering benefits and wealth to community members, 2) sources of revenue for the community developer besides advertising, and 3) how to actually grow the community. David Silver's book deals very well with the first two only. That's why it is only rated 4 stars.

Anyone who is attempting to improve their social network or to start a new online community will benefit from David Silver's book The Social Network Business Plan: 18 Strategies That Will Create Great Wealth.

Don't be turned off by the title. This is not a book about technology. Instead it deals with the issues and challenges that need to be addressed to build and maintain successful online social networks from the perspective of an investor. "Wealth" is broadly defined not only in monetary terms, but also in user benefits from helping companies and government to provide better products and services.

My Review From The Trenches

My review is through the lens of someone who is trying mightily to build an online home remodeling community, Millennial Living, using the content management software platform Drupal. Besides maintaining the site, I spend time thinking about ways to grow the community and produce content. Since time is precious, I am always trying to learn more about social networks at the least cost. David Silver's book helped a lot.

How To Read This Book

First read the book from cover to cover. It's especially important not to skip the Introduction. I did and I was totally lost in Chapter 1.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Mike Control on November 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Silver may know how to make money, but this book suffers from common how-to business book flaws: terrible writing, poor research, generalizing anecdotes into global truths, unverifiable claims, broad platitudes and self obsession (he actually suggests that you email him your business ideas - his email address is right in the book!). I could deal with all that, because I'll grant that occasionally insightful nuggets appear throughout, but the title of the book does not represent what the book is actually about. There are not 18 strategies in this book, there is only one - the idea that you can build online social network sites around critiquing commercial goods and services and that data collected from that site can itself be sold. To me, that counts as 1 strategy, not 18.

Business is like anything else: if you practice, you get good at it. That doesn't mean you understand what you're doing and can explain it to others.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jarod Smith on June 29, 2009
Format: Hardcover
18 Strategies That Will Create Great Wealth??? It seems to me like there are more than just 18 in the book. Mr. Silver has a brain full of ideas and I learned much more than just the 18 strategies.

As others have stated, don't forget to read the introduction. It helps setup what Mr. Silver is thinking from the beginning. These are new and fascinating ideas!!! When you look at a Facebook or MySpace site, it's difficult to soak in the opinion that they're doing it wrong. All that advertising...why? The strategies in this book take the social network website owners away from advertising and describe other ways to generate the revenue. These are ways which will build a more solid income and reputable website, helping you build the "recommender" social network of tomorrow. I would like to have seen a little more information on why the big sites (MySpace, Facebook, Twitter) are worth so much and where their income comes from.

I read this book when I first got it and thought the ideas were downright crazy! Interesting and innovative, but crazy. Maybe because I'm not at the full level to implement them all...yet [...]. I recently began re-reading the book and things are so much clearer now...maybe I'm a slow learner. :)

And not dry at all. Humorous at times, full of facts and a ton of information. The ideas seem sound and make sense.

Building a trusted recommender website is the future and Mr Silver gives many examples of what he means. A "trusted" recommender website is an important part of the 18 revenue channels. The good reputation of the recommender website will lead to more possibilities.

I think I'm still a little too excited from reading the book again so I think I'm babbling. A definite buy.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By D. W. Locke on March 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover
David Silver takes the whole social networking phenomenon apart and has fun with it all along the way.

Right now the whole game is rather new and there is a lot of guesswork about where it's going to; yet David talks with such confidence and with such clear reasoning that he appears to have been sent from the future and is here to tell us how it all will actually unfold.

You'll notice that the subtitle of the book is "18 Strategies That Will Create Great Wealth". You should know that these strategies are to bring about 18 distinctly different sustainable (and ongoing) revenue channels.

You'll be familiar with some of these channels, but not all of them, and it will surprise you to see how few of them are currently in effect. He's talking about a future that is not too far away. (You'll also become aware of some of these channels that ARE being implemented -- and how they are making money behind the scenes.)

Mr. Silver is an angel investor; a partner in Santa Fe Capital who has long been fond of Internet enterprises (he drops some very famous names in this and Smart Start-Ups).

Here he reveals various formulae that he has used over the years to determine whether he should represent a project to investors. Principal among them is an 8 step process that he sometimes calls "Silver's Law" and sometimes the "Demonstrable Economic Justification Factors". It's easy to use and is a MUST in any social site business plan to follow these steps to determine the viability of a proposed community.

Through reading this book, I got a very good grasp on the real value of social networking sites to the world, assisting all of us in leading better lives. That is on the long term view.
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