The Problem with Social Commerce

I have had an underlying distrust and disinterest in the social commerce market for a while. And I have been sitting on this discomfort not sure how to put it into words. I am torn because I have some great friends (umbabox) and advisors (refer.ly) building products in the market. And, I have even personally worked on community products in e-commerce (zappos). But, I have seen far more failures and non-starters struggle to get traction (or, rather, annoy the hell out of people) in social commerce.

But I finally found a way to describe the source of my frustration. The difference is in the way businesses approach their solutions:

“How can I exploit a social network?” vs. “How can I help my customers provide strong personal referrals to trusted friends and family members?”