Apple’s Ping: Why “$1.29 Buy” is the new “Like”

Post written by Matthew Egan.  Follow Matthew on Twitter.

The addition of a Social Network to iTunes 10 might not seem like a huge deal, you talk about music through comments, maybe rate a song or an album, you’re doing that already.  What we’re not thinking about however is how iTunes has just solidified itself as the Facebook for music, as the portal, as the interface for communication, wrapped very cleverly around a very profitable and reaching ONLINE STORE.Apple's Ping Social Network

Online Store.  Let’s focus on that for a second.  iTunes is an e-commerce product first, a music player second, and now a social network first?  What?  YES!  Apple has created a reason for you not to close iTunes, for you to flip through comments, for you to check iTunes from your phone, for you to make iTunes not just this application that you use to sync your iPhone, but instead a destination for your attention on the web.

Google’s Search Engine is such a profitable powerhouse because Google can profit on your attention.  You need to find things, you need to search, and so while you’re there Google can show you ads and occasionally (something like once out of every thousand) you’ll actually click on one of those ads.

Facebook is the same way.  By having you spend time refreshing Farmville, by having you banter with your friends, sharing photos and resources, Facebook has created not just a Social Network but a DESTINATION.  It is a place you happily sit, refresh, share, talk, brag, rant and learn from.  You can click on ads, you can “like” pages for business, Facebook is making money hand over fist because they have your attention.  Whoever has the most eyes wins.

Enter Apple.  I know some people aren’t huge music buffs, maybe this to some degree is a niche product, but I believe Apple stands to make considerably more PER USER than Facebook, and maybe even Google.  The idea that a song is only $1.29 is such a small number, that we so casually click buy, “Sure I’ll give it a shot” and boom, we’re committed, we’ve made a purchase.  This micro-transaction between the user and Apple is seamless, it’s instant and it puts fifty cents in Apple’s pocket every time you do it.

So now what?  Now Apple not only has the best micro-transaction product on the web, the backing of countless record companies, television stations and movie production houses, but now they also have your attention.  Now Apple’s iTunes IS the destination.  When you’re not playing Farmville, now you might be rapping about your favorite Justin Bieber song with your friends.

Look at the “like” button, look at how easy it is to just click “like” and suddenly you’re part of the marketing engine for that product.  Now look at the new iTunes, look at Apple’s Ping.  Every time I recommend a song, every time I share something I’m watching, SOMEONE in my social circle is going to buy it to watch it.

$1.29 Buy is the new LikeApple has created a peer network where you influence the purchases of your friends, and are then influenced by their purchases as well.

“$1.29 Buy” is the new “Like” button folks.

Apple just changed everything.  Again.

Matthew Egan is the President of San Antonio SEO consulting group Image Freedom.  When not dancing to the blues, Matthew helps web pages like yours get more traffic through content driven Search Engine Optimization.