Check Courante for a blow-by-blow report of this week's symposium at Stanford B-School on Social Networking: Is There a Business Model?.
Ross Mayfield on Social Software:
The reason for this is the rules and opportunties have changed. You can't screw your customers. You can't lock them in. You can't ask them to take significant risk up front. Risk is shared with customers by providing incremental proof of value in-line with them taking risk on you.
While startup costs have declined, some have increased. Notably, its harder to sell traditionally (top-down) and you can't raise barriers to entry by locking-in your customers. The only entry point is bottom-up. The only marketable barrier to entry today is network effects.
Another viewpoint rings true:
Bottom line on the starting question: No, there's not currently a business model.
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