Merril Lynch just released its projections for the top internet themes for 2008. I found their “emergence of social networking revenue models” the most relevant section. Basically they are repeating what we have all come to realize, social networking sites (Friendster, Facebook, etc.) will play a significant role in the online advertising industry, and will be a strong influence on mobile advertising. An increase of 8% in Social Networking (1% of the time spent online, est. 2003) has spurned large companies like Microsoft to take a more proactive stake in this emerging industry. While I do think that the valuation placed on the Facebook acquisition was beyond ridiculous, it does clearly mark this sector as a future sandbox.
Presently there are some interesting partnerships between Social Networking sites and mobile phones that seem to be working well enough. For the rest of us, there is still a long way to go.