Recently, brands like Sharpie, Volkswagon and Tropicana have created their own social-networking sites to complement their marketing efforts on mainstream sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
While I understand why companies would prefer social interaction on a more controlled, branded site, I have a hard time believing these sites will achieve much success after the initial glow wears off.
Personally, I would much rather interact with my favorite brands on a site where I have an established identity and a clear understanding of how the site operates (Facebook) than create an entirely new identity on a site I know little about. Yes, Facebook Connect could make these third-party sites more appealing, but I’d prefer to interact with brands who come to me (in a non-pushy manner, of course) where I spend my time. See how Adobe successfully engaged Facebookers in their “natural environment.” I hope to see more brands take Adobe’s lead in the future.