Social Media March Madness — Social Media Bracket


Since College Basketball’s March Madness is almost upon us, I felt it only appropriate to put together a Social Media Madness bracket in the hopes of answering: Who is or who will become the king of Social Media?  Is it Facebook? Twitter? Or is it a “Cinderella Player” like Livemocha?  Fill out your picks here Facebook’s Bracket Builder !

We are down to the Sweet Sixteen.  For each company I list their strengths (key wins) and weaknesses (key losses) and point out how your company or brand can leverage these social media offerings.  This week we discuss the winners and losers of Region One and detail out this week’s Region Two match-ups. 

We have added new ways to submit your picks (thanks for the immense response so far!).  You can fill out via Facebook’s Bracket Builder or Twitter your response to @equalman or #S16.
Region One Results:
Facebook(1) vs. Yammer(4):  Facebook mopped the floor with its brand new baby brother (Yammer is a social network for business).  We’ll see if in time Yammer has the last laugh.
Delicious(2) vs. Orkut(3):  Orkut may have won this match-up a few years back, but they appear to be evolving into a niche player (Brazil and India); Delicious had the hot hand and narrowly escapes with a win.  Delicious’ celebration could be short lived as they now face #1 overall seed Facebook. 
Region Two Match-Ups/Players:
This is another loaded region, although probably not quite as strong as Region 2.  Region 3 is arguably the strongest region.  Below are write-ups on why each of these four companies has made it this far into the tournament.
Wikipedia(1) vs. Hi5(4)
Digg(2) vs. Hulu(3)


Some argue Wikipedia started the open source and social sharing revolution. Despite naysayers, studies have shown that Wikipedia is as accurate as Encyclopedia Britannica (reference: and

Key Wins:  Almost pervasively the #1 search result in Google for any topic or public figure related search query.  As a result of Wikipedia’s success, Encyclopedia Britannica recently adopted a hybrid of the Wikipedia model.

Key Losses:  The technology is not the most user friendly.  It would be difficult for the general Internet population to quickly and easily figure out how to thoroughly update and edit; perhaps this is by design.  Just like with DMOZ a few years back, the people that have earned editor status have too much power and they love to use it.  For the longest time CNET’s Tom Merritt, Molly Wood and Jason Howell were being scrubbed by editors – are you kidding? Wikipedia also makes a habit of blacklisting blogs.  For niche topics, the accuracy can be less than reliant. 

Business Use:  You need to know what is written about your company and make appropriate, non-hyperbolic edits.  If you can optimize for search, all the better.

Coach: CEO Jimmy Wales helped found the company, along with Larry Sanger in January of 2001, and is based in San Francisco. 


Digg is a social bookmarketing site.  After content is submitted other people “Digg” what they like best. If your story receives enough Diggs, it’s promoted to the front page.

Key Wins:  Attracts at least 236 million visitors annually (Compete 2008).  Founder Kevin Rose was on the cover of BusinessWeek.

Key Losses:
  Have faced user revolt as a result of some companies gaming the system.  BusinessWeek reported that Digg lost 4 million dollars on 6.4 million dollars of revenue in the first three quarters of 2008.

Business Use
:  Do not try to game the system, this will end up poorly.  Do follow what your customers/readers find of most interest and adjust product/services/content accordingly.

CEO Jay Adelson is based out of the San Francisco headquarters.
Hulu is NBC Universal and News Corporation’s online video joint venture. The site focuses exclusively on professional content and serves the video within an embedded player on
Key wins:  Advertising brand recall is higher in Hulu than on traditional TV networks as a result McDonald’s, BestBuy, HP, ALPO, etc. have made large media buys.  One reason is they tell the user there will be a :30 commercial and shows the seconds counting down.  Avoids the Tivo/DVR issue.  Hulu served about 221 million streams to about 7.5 million unique visitors in November, up from 206 million videos and 9 million unique visitors in October.

Key losses:
Hulu may turn out to be the Napster of online video viewing.  They are a victim of their own success as entertainment providers crack the privacy whip.

Business Use
:  Achieves great brand recall and awareness for companies willing to get creative. 

CEO Jason Kilar spent almost a decade at before heading up this Los Angeles based venture.
Hi5 is a social network site similar to Facebook, Orkut and MySpace.  According to comScore, in 2008 Hi5 was the third most popular social networking site in terms of monthly unique visitors.  Ranked as a top 20 website globally and the #1 social network in over 30 countries across Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Hi5 is currently available in 37 language options.
Key wins:  As of February 2009, hi5 claims to have over 80 million active members which is up from 60 million in December.  Very popular in the Spanish speaking community which Hi5 claims to be #1 in. 

Key losses: For how succesful they’ve been they do not get much press.  In Thailand where they have a solid market share users are starting to use Facebook, even though Facebook isn’t tailored for the Thai market specificly.  Is this a sign of things to come?

Business Use:  Very important for Global companies to test and play in the Latin and Asian markets where Hi5 has significant market share.

Coach:   Privately held firm is steered by founder and CEO Ramu Yalamanchi out of San Francisco. 

Region 1

Region 2

Region 3

Region 4

1. Facebook

1. Wikipedia

1. YouTube

1. Twitter

2. Delicious

2. Digg

2. MySpace

2. LikedIn

3. Orkut

3. Hulu

3. FriendFeed

3. Flickr

4. Yammer

4. Hi5

4. Livemocha

4. Bebo



This is today’s social media Goliath.  After opening its network up beyond college students in late 2006 Facebook has quickly risen to the top and is why it’s this tournaments’ overall number one seed and the hands down favorite to win it all.

Key Wins:  Status Updates and Photo Tagging allow users to easily stay connected throughout the day.  Facebook is the most used photo sharing platform in the world having more activity than all other photo sites (Ofoto, Flickr, Snapfish, etc.) combined.  Facebook Connect allows users to use their Facebook login on various sites (e.g., CNET) to post comments and reviews.  They have 175 million users in 170 countries in 35 different languages.

Key Losses:  The poorly handled releases of some new product offerings like Beacon have not helped assuage privacy concerns.  Beacon follows user purchase behaviors around the Web and in one instance alerted a girlfriend that her boyfriend had purchased an engagement ring on Amazon.  Blocked by Syria and Iran.  Still struggling to find a sound revenue model.

Business Use:  Setting up fan and group pages is a good way for loyal users to engage and take ownership of your brand.  Victoria’s Secret has over 1 million fans and Barack Obama has close to 5.5 million fans.

Coach: CEO Mark Zuckerberg is only 24 years old and has this Palo Alto company valuation at around $3.75 billion (down from $15 billion).


 Delicious is a social bookmarking website – used to store bookmarks online, which allows you to access the same bookmarks from any computer and add bookmarks from anywhere, too.

Key wins:  Got rid of the hard to remember URL.  Tags allow you to organize and remember your bookmarks, which is a much more flexible system than folders.  Acquired by Yahoo in 2005 for an estimated $10-$15 million.

Key losses: Founder Joshua Schachter left to join Google on January 12, 2009

Business Use:  Easy for employees in the same department to keep track of relevant sites and articles.  Also for content and entertainment producers it’s an easy way to determine which articles/postings the general public finds most relevant.

Coach:   Managed by Yahoo – Sunnyvale, CA


Orkut is a social networking service that is run by Google and named after its creator, a Google Turkish Engineer- Orkut Büyükkökten.

Key wins:  Dominate the social network market share for Latin America, in particular Brazil.  They are also arguably the most popular social network in India and the second most visited site.

 Key losses: Over dependent on Brazil (58% of it’s users).  Not contributing much revenue to Google, which is currently looking to eliminate underperforming business units.

 Business Use:  Great play for companies heavy in Latin and South America.

 Coach:   Owned by Google – Mountain View, CA.  In August 2008 announced that Orkut hosting would be moved from California to Brazil.


Yammer is often described as the internal social network for businesses or the Twitter for business.  It’s the self-professed water cooler allowing employees to update other employees about articles and events (free bagels in kitchen), which is much more efficient and effective than e-mail.  It allows e-mail to be saved for items that require a response and eliminates cc: abuse.

Key wins:  Cisco, Xerox and Hewlett-Packard all use it to help increase conversation and communication between employees while reducing meetings.  Access is limited by company e-mail address. 

Key losses: Is this really increasing business productivity or simply adding one more inbox that employees need to check?

Business Use:  Sign-up is easy and free.  Rather than answer the Twitter question “What are you doing?”  employees answer the question “What are you working on?”

Coach:   PayPal co-founder David Sacks – West Hollywood, CA; originally built as an internal tool for Geni – it was so effective that they made it public In 2008.


One response to “Social Media March Madness — Social Media Bracket

  1. ” . . . studies have shown that Wikipedia is as accurate as Encyclopedia [sic] Britannica.”

    No. There was one “study,” by the magazine Nature, that claimed to by systematic, but it was bogus, part of an a broader campaign by the magazine to promote Wikipedia. Even Nature’s own data didn’t find that Wikipedia was as accurate as Britannica, and what they did “find” was invalid because everything about the way they did the study waqs wrong.

    (Disclosure: Nicholas Carr is on Britannica’s editorial board today, but we had no relationship with him at the time he wrote the two posts here.

    Tom Panelas
    Enyclopaedia Britannica

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