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Will Google Buzz Affect Affiliate Marketing?

February 19, 2010 (CAP Newswire) – Last week, Google launched its latest initiative in an apparent quest to dominate all aspects of the Internet. Getting in on the red hot social media phenomenon, a new networking feature called Google Buzz was added to Gmail as a way for Google’s millions of email application to offer status reports, share photos, and interact in all the typical ways that other social networking hubs are famous for offering.

So far, the new service hasn’t exactly gotten rave reviews, as illustrated by this Wall Street Journal article. But most services are less than perfect when first launched, and it can probably be assumed that initial flaws will be improved, and fairly quickly.

Which leaves the question: Once it’s fully optimized, Can Google Buzz succeed in a social media world where Facebook and Twitter are already so dominant? Is Google actually trying to compete with Facebook? So far, the answer seems to be yes; the service doesn’t organize status updates from Facebook or Twitter but rather creates a separate hub for users to connect and share info.

Apparently, the long-term goal is for Google Buzz to “become just another node among many,” writes Laurie Sullivan at MediaPost News. ” Users of any two systems will have options to send updates back and forth, federate comments, share photos, send replies and more without needing Google in the middle and without using a Google-specific protocol or format.” Read Sullivan’s article here.

That sounds a lot like what Facebook offers, and it’s hard to think of Google Buzz as not being competitive, since it already has all those built-in Gmail users. But, big and powerful as it is, can it actually go head-to-head with Facebook and win?

Not all experts think so. “[S]ocial media is not Google’s core competency,” points out Erika Morphy at TechWorldNews. She quotes Columbia University lecturer Simon Sinek: “Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information — that is why it exists. This has nothing to do with that. It is just mission creep,”

Some think that Google Buzz can only succeed by teaming up with Facebook, as opposed to competing with it. “Google Buzz ‘is not going to have a tremendous impact unless Google starts aggregating status updates from Facebook and to a lesser degree, Twitter,” Web business expert Evan Bailyn states in Morphy’s article. “In other words … if Google does what it does best with this new networking tool — organizing information — it might create a competitive differentiator. If it doesn’t, then it won’t.” Read Morphy’s article here.

(Interestingly, Google is said to be working on a deal with MySpace, which could result in MySpace / Google Buzz crossover. That might help Google Buzz, as well as provide MySpace with some leverage to regain some of the stature lost to Facebook in recent years.)

Regardless of all the negative hype, Google Buzz will likely have an impact on online marketing, and also affiliate marketing. Many online marketers have Gmail accounts; and much online business is conducted via Google Docs and Google’s IM client, which are very well-regarded and becoming a more competitive option to Microsoft’s office services. The audience is already built-in; so even if Google Buzz underperforms, it’ll likely still become a factor to consider when networking online.

There are other benefits, too. “Buzz also will become part of a deeper set of advertising targeting mechanisms,” says David Harry, Reliable-SEO founder in the MediaPost article referenced above. “This will enable Google to offer advertisers the ability to target AdWords to specific demographics better.”

The bottom line is that many affiliate marketers are likely to use Google Buzz to connect with people in a new way. Whether that becomes as widespread or as profitable as networking on Facebook or Twitter use remains to be seen — but it’s certainly not unlikely.