Tag Archives: facebook

Not Quite Dead, but at least Diminishing

Death of the Free Web | Cap Watkins: “I’ve actually been noticing this transition in SV for the past year or so. More and more startups are focusing on revenue right out of the gate. The old way of trying to build gigantic user-bases and then sell their eyeballs to advertisers is falling by the wayside. There are certainly still exceptions, but right now they are just that – exceptions. Seeing a startup go after paying customers used to be like catching a glimpse of a unicorn. Now, it’s the status quo. But why?”

(Via. capwatkins.com)

Great piece here by Cap Watkins. Be sure to read it in full at the above link.

Sooo glad to see this trend. This whole Silicon Valley disease of fooling people into thinking everything in life should be free has been driving me nuts for decades. 

But the free web won’t die, unfortunately. It’s like a zombie–keeps rising up from time to time no matter how much you try and kill it. I have no doubt that this ad-supported nonsense will come back around. It cycles. It’s just too tempting for the handfuls of people who stand to get rich from the advertising model, and they’re very good bullshit artists. But the current cycle is winding down on ads, at least, and that makes me happy, at least for another year or two. 

As I keep joking, I’m looking forward to the traffic and rent prices coming back down to reasonable levels here in the Bay Area soon.

We’re discovering that you can’t create that sort of passion with free.

His example of Uber cab is an excellent one. Services that set out to solve a real-world problem don’t need to be free. People throw money at trying to solve problems all the time. And they’re happy to do so. And they become very loyal to services they pay for, in a way that they’ll never be loyal to Facebook or Twitter. Uber, Zipcar, Kickstarter, Square. These are the startups of today, and hopefully tomorrow.

Wall Street’s Harsh View of Facebook

Why Wall Street unfriended Facebook – The Globe and Mail: “Welcome to the tech industry’s summer of sober second-thought. For an unusually large number of Web and social media darlings, these past few months have been a harsh lesson in how quickly the stock market can turn nasty.”

(Via. The Globe and Mail)

Repeat after me: Ads cannot fund giant companies indefinitely. Eventually, the advertisers always figure out that their ad buys are essentially worthless, and they all pull out, rendering the service unsustainable. They move on to the next big unsustainable idea.

You can tell this is about to happen whenever web sites start pushing more and more intrusive ads into your face. It’s blatant desperation. 

We’ve seen this before; we’ll probably see it many more times in the coming decades. 

The only surprise here is that someone as smart as Zuckerberg hasn’t found more value in all that other data he has. If ads are the most creative thing he can come up with for funding Facebook, the company isn’t going to have a bright future. He should be playing way past this by now. 

As suggested by this article, ads don’t even make much sense within the context of Facebook. Zuckerberg designed the entire experience around staying within the walls of Facebook 24/7. Ads, by default, are effective only if they let you leave the site you’re on and go to the advertiser’s page. 

And Twitter, just getting into the ad game now? You’re about three years too late. 

Wall Street is going to be more harsh this time around, because so many investors got seriously burned by tech during the dot com craze. There’s a lot of bad blood still flowing over that fiasco. Which is why tech companies that actually have a solid future like Apple trade way below what they should. 

A Facebook stumble, followed by a hard Twitter fall, may depress the entire tech sector for several years, even if we don’t have a large-scale crash like before. 

Facebook and the State of Web Advertising

The Facebook Fallacy – Technology Review:

“The daily and stubborn reality for everybody building businesses on the strength of Web advertising is that the value of digital ads decreases every quarter, a consequence of their simultaneous ineffectiveness and efficiency. The nature of people’s behavior on the Web and of how they interact with advertising, as well as the character of those ads themselves and their inability to command real attention, has meant a marked decline in advertising’s impact. “

(Via technologyreview.com.)

What a great read. This could have been written eleven years ago, just before the first dot com bubble burst.

Everything hums along great for a while, sure. And a few people get rich every time. But for the vast majority of people, the notion that web advertising is sustainable as your sole source of income long term is just silly. The inside players in the Valley know this; they just don’t want everyone else to figure that out until it’s too late.

Facebook may very well come up with some master stroke, some bold new idea to start making a sustainable business in the long term. But thus far we haven’t seen any real evidence of that.

Facebook “passed over” at the last minute for today’s Apple announcement? I don’t think so.

We’ve heard from a source that sometime late last night, Facebook was told that they would not be a part of Apple’s event today. This is nothing new. Companies are told to prepare to go on stage at these events all the time only to get pulled at the last second. It’s just a bit odd that a company as large as Facebook was passed over.

via techcrunch.com

I find this extremely hard to believe. Why would Apple, at an event called “Let’s talk iPhone” want to share the stage with Facebook, arguably a future serious competitor, to announce the release of a Facebook iPad app, which frankly, is not only long overdue, but also does nothing to further Apple’s clear message of new iPhone and Siri today?

If anything, I’d think Apple would want to shove this one under the rug and hope no one noticed that the iPad app wasn’t already there a year ago.

Let Facebook make its own announcement for its own iPad app. I can’t see why Apple would have even considered making this a part of today’s event, let alone cancel it at the last minute. Sounds like a source trying to cover his tracks to me.

Sometimes rumors are just wrong. Like 90% of the other rumors about today.

Thoughts on Google+ from Andy Ihnatko

But these are just personal observations and opinions. Do keep in mind that Google+ isn’t even in public beta yet. I love it, but this might even be partly due to the intensely clubby nature of this highly-restricted invite-only test community. It’s all nerds, or first-circle nerd associates. At this early, limited stage, it’s like Google+ is a social networking service where they won’t let you sign in until you’ve correctly answered a 10-item lightning round quiz of Doctor Who, Star Wars, New Gods, and 1990’s video game trivia.

(I posted that line to my Google+ feed on Saturday.)

It’ll undergo nonstop tinkering before the doors are thrown open to the huddled masses. And when that finally happens, Google+ can finally be judged. That’s when (presumably) we’ll start seeing ads. That’s also when the same marketers and promoters who feel commanded by God to ruin every corner of the Internet will start polluting and gaming Google+ with schemes to get attention for their products, celebrities and scams.

So we all have that to look forward to.

Andy Ihnatko points out some of my exact thoughts since I started playing around with Google+. It’s clean; it’s full of juicy content. Devoid of all the lame-brained usual noise you have to sift through on Facebook to get to anything worthwhile. But that’s because it’s early. And it’s a nerd fest. As soon as everyone joins, the ads get turned on, and the spammers show up, you’ll be left with nothing but a near Facebook clone. Does the world really need this? And do we really want to turn over all that data to Google, any more than we want to turn it to Facebook?

The usual nonsense from tech reporters

Facebook seems to be blitzing lately, rolling out product after product, as fast or faster than we’ve ever seen from anyone. Not all of them will succeed, but you can’t say that Mark Zuckerberg and company aren’t busting their asses trying.

Maybe it’s a coincidence or an optical illusion. But it really looks like Facebook is in attack mode — especially moreso than Google — with a strong team and a hunger (and a sense of self-importance) that should frighten anyone in its path.

Today, it’s attacking email. Maybe tomorrow, it will be attacking Google and Apple’s core businesses, like search and mobile platforms. Look out.

So Facebook announced some sort of email/IM/SMS integration service today. I’d say more about it, but I honestly don’t think anyone knows more about it yet. Facebook is mum on the details of how it will work.

Given Google’s monumental failure to “revolutionize” email with Wave earlier this year, it’s hard for me to take this one too seriously. At least not until I get some, you know, details.

But that doesn’t stop ridiculous reporters from spewing nonsense like this article I found in the SFGate, which is itself just a rehash of an article in
Business Insider.

Facebook is blitzing lately? Really? Groups. Places. And now a vague enhancement to its messaging services? That constitutes a blitz of new products that everyone should be afraid of?

And since when is blitzing new products into the world, knowing that “not all of them will succeed” a good strategy? That hasn’t worked out too well for Google this year. Just ask the Wave, Nexus One, and Buzz teams.

And Apple should be worried? About what, exactly?

This guy should have stopped after his first sentence, which is the only accurate statement in the article.

Don’t get me wrong; I think Facebook is doing well lately. And I do think that Google should be worried about this service’s impact on Gmail subscribers. At least in the long term, I can see people drifting toward a Facebook messaging system as an alternative to GMail, which hasn’t been given any significant update in years, beyond the priority Inbox.

But what does any of this have to do with Apple? Apple’s email service is part of a paid subscription model, and Apple doesn’t depend on it for any significant portion of its revenue. Ping is certainly suffering from not being tied to Facebook, but it’s not like Facebook has the resources to bring the record labels to Facebook directly, so I assume they’ll work out a deal on that one eventually.

Unless this guy is suggesting that Facebook is going to magically announce a brand new phone platform tomorrow, and that it will somehow be more successful at killing the iPhone than Palm, Microsoft, Nokia, or even Google has been, I don’t think I’d be worried if I were Steve Jobs.

Various Web site User Satisfaction – some interesting results

Google may be suffering from trying to be too many things to too many people,” the report noted. “In fact, when asked what they like least about Google, survey respondents commonly mentioned issues like advertising, overwhelming search results, privacy concerns, and too many special features (like maps and shopping.)

This article is mainly about Facebook, and the odd paradox that barely a majority of Facebook users is satisfied with the site, and yet Facebook is still growing. I chalk that up to the peer pressure factor; you go where your friends are, and right now your friends are on Facebook. Why they are all hanging out there is anybody’s guess. Why did people listen to the Thomson Twins? Why do more people like Pepsi than Dr. Pepper? Somewhere, someone decides these things, and the sheep follow.

The quote I put up top there about Google is very interesting, too. Funny that the things people complain about most with Google are the only things that make Google money: advertising, links to shopping, etc.) People want a free ride, because that’s what the web has trained people to expect.

Which is exactly why I think Google has a much shakier future than most people realize. It really wouldn’t be hard to imagine the search and advertising business hitting another wall, and all these pet projects of Google’s don’t seem to get them anywhere, financially.

Still, I think unseating Google would be a lot harder than Facebook, with its 64% user satisfaction rate. If Buzz can’t manage to grab some marketshare away from Facebook, considering those numbers, then Google really should give it up on Social networking.