Dave pointed out this story about Monster.com's plans to add social networking to its website:
While users can search for contacts by profession, location and school, they will have to pay to view contact information. For the test period, Monster is charging a $24.99 (U.S.) one-time fee and a monthly charge of $2.99 for users to get in touch with each other.
I don't think much of their proposed integration, although I suppose the message is that social networking is making money (or at least the compant that is adding the functionality, is). Read on...
This almost exactly follows the Classmates.com model -- where you can search for free but pay to get contact details. I think that there has to be higher value in a relationship to pay for it. Or maybe that you shouldn't have to pay for a relationship?
Regardless, I understand the sentiment. If people are demanding social networking features, somebody has to pay. If people do pay, then it definitely has value. Or someone has to pay.
We've got a couple of different ideas to make money from Zerendipity. Rather than trying to sell the network itself (after all, it's really "owned" by the users who enter the content), we're going to focus on enabling new functionality using social networking. Right now, I think that people are confusing social networking sites as the end goal -- helping people by giving them software that works more like they already do.