User generated content terrifies advertisers, because while people aggregate there and are highly engaged, the advertiser can never be sure what they're engaged with -- or if the content is what might be called kosher.
At the OMMA conference today e-Marketer CEO Geoff Ramsey made a good point: user-generated content is scary, unless ads can be targeted really well. So, you can avoid anything you want to avoid, and hit users you really want to hit.
He also noted that to get in on the social networking boom you'll have to let go a bit of the anal-retentive need to control everything if you really want to get a discussion going that lifts your brand, creates content. "There is going to be some negative stuff and you ahve to be wi9lling to deal with that," he said. People in a discussion just might slam a product you allow them to comment on. (He didn't say it but I'll note that consistent comments about a product flaw -- a la the complaints about Comcast -- can be excellent market survey grist.) Transparency = Trust, Ramsey wrote on one presentation slide, and said that a typical marketer who allows ALL content to blossom saw orders go up 40%. "People trust other consumers more than marketers."