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By Mike Elgan April 26, 2014 07:15 AM ET

The new business model for social: Harvest personal data anywhere you can, then sell ads anywhere you can.

Computerworld - Once upon a time, there was a hoodie-wearing college dropout who moved to Silicon Valley to grow a social network.

At first, Mark Zuckerberg and his staff didn't know what their business model would be, but they had a strong suspicion that gathering hundreds of millions of eyeballs on a single site might be worth something someday.

Eventually and inevitably, Facebook introduced advertising to its site. The strategy was clear: Get everybody to gather at a single location (Facebook.com), harvest social signals at that location, and sell ads that would be displayed at that location. Everyone and everything in one place.

The social networks are falling apart -- they're breaking up into multiple sites and apps that do in a scattered way what used to happen centrally.

If you're in the personalized advertising business, why restrict yourself to a single social network? Users don't.


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