"Reality Television of the Internet"

Rob Hof

That's what Jon Gibs of Nielsen//NetRatings calls social-networking sites, which the market research firm today says attracted almost half of all Web users--led by MySpace, of course. There are certainly parallels to reality TV, but I hope they're more than mostly mindless entertainment that's cheap to produce. That's certainly not how the participants see them. And the instant that folks running these sites start to think they own this "content," they're likely to see their unpaid content producers depart for more genuine services.

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