Although there's been a big rush of investment into the social networking space, it still hasn't been a huge moneymaker. Until MySpace sold its search and advertising rights to Google, the company was having a hard time monetizing its enormous page views. One way in which brands are using the sites is by creating profiles for themselves, and then inviting users to be their friends. But it's unclear how far they can take this, or whether users will tire of having their friend list populated with advertising. Today, J.P. Morgan announced a deal to become the sole credit card sponsor on Facebook. At first blush this would seem like yet another crude attempt at attaching its brand to the popular site. But the deal is actually a bit more sophisticated; it appears that Facebook users will be able to share rewards points with others. The example they cite is that a college fraternity could get points towards a new TV. It's unclear whether people will sign up for a credit card just because it's on Facebook, but the move is a step in the right direction. Social networking (or networking of any kind) is a means to an end, so deals that help groups accomplish certain goals are a smart way to use these sites.
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