There’s a lot of speculation at any given time about what the future of the web is. I don’t know what it is, but I think I know what it’s not. Facebook.
Yeah, yeah, I can hearing the booing from here. Easy now, fan boys.
The truth is that the web rides waves of innovation and everyone on of those waves has a trough between it and the next wave. Facebook is currently experiencing the slide down the backside of the wave and is headed into the trough. Why?
1) Facebook is experiencing - With more than 150,000 new users signing up daily, it is growing three times as fast as rival MySpace. Growth like that can’t last forever and the investiment to maintain either the growth, the infrastructure to handle the growth, or both, is huge. Despite all the hype, MySpace is still the leader in social networking. Facebook still has quite a way to go before catching up with MySpace, and if that ever happens, it will also reach a plateau.
2) Facebook is not for sale - While independence is a nice sentiment, Facebook needs cash to survive. Initial investors are all smiles and “we want you to succeed” when handing over that initial $38 million, but the whole point is to make a profit. In July, Mark Zuckerberg said, “We’re not looking to IPO anytime soon. It’s just not the core focus of the company.” The next wave will come from the $1 billion that Facebook refused or from investors in some other IPO.
3) Facebook doesn’t respect users - Social advertising and features like Beacon have led thousands of users to sign petitions opposing them. Facebook is alienating its core audience. According to security researchers at Computer Associates, Facebook is collecting shopping information even when users are logged out of their system and have opted out of sharing their purchases.
4) Facebook is getting sued - Zuckerberg’s Harvard buddies claim he stole the idea. Even if the lawsuits are bogus, lawsuits tend to drive away investors and users who worry about getting entangled in bad situations. Lawsuits are also expensive, even if you win.
5) Facebook is full of useless crap and kinda slow - Poke, zombie, whatever.
So what’s the next wave?