User generated content (UGC) is a big part of what is known as Web 2.0. It consists of sites where the content is provided by its users rather than by a staff of editors, writers, etc. The best-known UGC sites include MySpace, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, and Wikipedia. They are more popular with the young, but are gaining traction with the over 25 set. And advertisers are taking notice.

To quote this article in AdWeek:
“Ad spending on Web sites that have built their traffic on user-gen staples like social networking, photo sharing and amateur video is expected to soar to $4.3 billion in 2011, according to a new report issued by eMarketer. That’s a whopping increase of 330 percent versus the $1 billion expected to be spent in the space this year—which is itself more than double the $450 million in ad revenue tracked by eMarketer in 2006.”

I remember when I first started selling advertising on the web (back in 1997), the heavy majority of web users were male. That shifted quickly. Expect to see some form of UGC take off in the business world. Imagine using personalized “MySpace” technology to power your site’s user groups, for example. (It already exists. Check out Atlanta-based ThePort.) Do you have any ideas on how UGC can be used in the business world? Post them in the Comments section.

User-Gen Space Poised for Growth