Meanwhile new companies like Contact Network, Socialtext, and Spoke Software are generating revenues by selling social-networking software to corporations. Typically such products work behind the corporate firewall to mine employees' contact lists and e-mail traffic patterns. They have various ways of ensuring that no employee's data are used without permission.
To clarify, we aren't so typical. We don't monitor email, a private medium, or mine contacts. We provide tools for people to make their own connections, organically from the bottom-up, through conversations that are meant to be shared.
You have to love pieces that quote bloggers:
The phenomenon may be seen as offering people tools analogous to the most powerful ones being used in business. Writes Yong Su Kim, who maintains a blog on software trends at YSK.com: "It's almost like the CRM and ERP of peoples' professional and personal lives. Social-networking software is designed to help people look for new relationships (acquire customers), maximize existing relationships (sell to the installed base), and optimize their social interactions (order management, manufacturing, supply chain, and distribution)."
The article also provides Joi as the uber-networker example of LinkedIn's value, describes a couple of models and offers another way of describing the development of social infrastructure
Mark Pincus, an investor in Friendster and founder of Tribe.net, calls this the early phases of the "peopleweb"--a user-controlled network of identities and relationships that transcends any one site or company.