Facebook will fail within three years.
Foreword: I already know that this article will be the basis of strong discussion. I know that, but I am still convinced of what I just wrote.
Because if the world’s most popular social network does not drastically change, in three years, five max, it will no longer exist or at least it will no longer exist as we know it now.
Today we’re still reading about the incredible rise of the creature of Mark Zuckerberg, who seems unstoppable.
The competitors are now only local social networks which lack the force to take them beyond the boundaries of their states, in everything else Facebook has absolute dominion.
But … regardless of the results of the Nasdaq listing and the financial indicators, and despite what is commonly believed, Facebook has big problems.
What are they? Here’s a summary.
a) The Darwinian law of new technologies. It seems like yesterday when Nokia had 70% market share, Sony dominated the consumer electronics, IBM in the PC market, etc. etc. History, in fact, teaches us that in any market based on technology and technological development, positions of absolute dominance do not exist, not now or ever, because all the technology business models, by definition, are modified by the freshest, most innovative versions of themselves.
b) The law of popularity. Have you ever gone somewhere because it was trendy and then stopped going because everyone else started going there too? Let’s face it: everyone is on Facebook now and it’s no longer “cool” to be there. No longer trendy. You’re supposed to be there. But what’s the point?
c) Do you want to tell your personal business to your parents? Of course not. Remember: Facebook initially began as hook up site. The fact that it was banned by universities did nothing but make it even more of a must. But now even our parents are on Facebook and are asking us to friend them … isn’t it time to change the air?
d) Making money is not a social objective. When Zuckerberg announced the listing with a letter, he wrote that the objective of Facebook was to create a world that was more open, connected and transparent …… this makes me laugh …. Wikileaks can boast about having these goals, not Facebook, especially when it keeps trying to convince companies to invest in advertising that exploits the personal data of its users.
e) Facebook is increasingly used on mobile devices. On mobile devices (tablets /smartphones) advertising revenues collapse both because of less available space on the screen, and because of less effective messaging.
f) Change of target audience. Facebook has a very wide and varied target audience, since “everyone” is on it. But to avoid the failure that was MySpace’s inability to follow their target audience as it grew (Generation Y) requires Facebook to “follow” its initial target of reference in its growth and maturity.
g) Incresing usage of other communication systems withing teanagers (like What’s app messanger)
g) The privacy issue. Facebook’s biggest problem (and its only source of income).
Paradoxically, it is precisely this last aspect that is the real Achilles heel of Facebook and the castle will collapse when even the companies begin to understand the importance of using the data of its customers transparently. If there is less trust in a company, then there is also less possibility for a company to thrive. You cannot do business if there is no trust .
On the other hand, the marketing company is franticly looking to get much data as possible on their consumers and is hard not to … take advantage.
Let’s think about what we do on Facebook: the photos we post, the sentences that we write, the links we watch, the friendships that we have, the things that we “like”… Mr. Facebook knows everything about us.
Everything, both from the point of view of habits, tastes, and from a psychological point of view: many of the things that this social network knows about us we probably don’t even know ourselves!
The issue is that Facebook has to make money: do we really think that this information isn’t already for sale?
Even today, a company that advertises with Facebook can cluster their advertising campaign with great precision.
Give it a try: if you select the “create an ad” area, with a group of people as a well-specified cluster (age, place of residence, “likes”) you can immediately see that the amplitude of the target can be anywhere from a few people to even a single person. And if you set a message and a given budget, that single person who connects to Facebook will be bombarded with your message every time they log on.
With the right messages it’s possible to persuade people to do many things, exactly because certain messages can be created with a deep understanding of the recipient. I don’t need to be a guru of mentalism to understand that.
Personally I think what Facebook is doing is abusive, taking advantage of the innocence (and ignorance) of people. And abuse is not a sustainable business model. It scares me a lot when President Obama declared that “Saying that we have to choose between our privacy and our security is ridiculous”.
Obama, buddy, don’t you realize that a person’s personal freedom is inviolable?
More and more people perceive the importance of keeping their personal data confidential. And what is the price that each of us gives, or is willing to give, for information about our personal lives? How long will this aspect be sustainable?
The synthesis could be described as follows: a business model based on the abuse of the privacy of its users in a “place” where everyone goes and that is no longer trendy. And where technological innovation evolves at a frenetic pace.
I do not have to convince anyone of what I wrote in this article.
It’s so obvious. Sure, Facebook will not collapse overnight.
It will be a slow and inexorable decline.
See you in three years, five max.
Italian version of this article here. Versione italiana qui.
Wow,.. one of the most lamest refreshing article i have ever read in a while. It seems the author is some 3-4 years behind. I can counter this article with lots of points, but im too lazy to type and waste my time on this piece of crap.
However, here are something to think about. Mobile advertising was a big concern for fb in 2011, but do you know that their 40% ad revenue today is coming from mobiles? And its only keeping increasing.
Facebook, twitter and reddit, these 3 sites combined, are making the news and print industry disappearing. U get the latest news on twitter and fb, before u even see it in your tv, and they have already made good dents in the revenues of the print industry. The decline in newspaper sales are pretty much evident from the YoY sales charts. My point is, they won’t be going out of trend for a very very long time. Has google gone out of trend for the past 10 years because everyones in your family is using it?
Regarding the privacy issues, google will be using your google+ profile in ads now. And u think fb is abusive?But u always have the option not to enter your FULL info in fb, or G+ for that matter. ANyway, over the next few years, ad and privacy issues is going to be get a drastic change (Talk about fb app in google glass)
Are you aware that Microsoft bought skype and ported all of their LIVE users to skype? Fb is also buying other social medias like instagram, etc. So in the end, you will be seeing a tight woven, large web of social media, dominated by the likes of FB (and twitter and g+) ., So no… FB will contantly be updated on the basis of what people ‘need’.
Nokia was very arrogant when they were at the top of their league (so was Blackberry). Innovation was almost zero, and thts what cost them. But look at FB, Every year they updates, announces new stuff, and is highly innovative when it comes to web interactions.
By about 2020, almost all local retailers will be giving ads in FB, and Google, and most of the newspapers will be near bankrupt, thanks to the growth of tablets, e-readers, and google glass.
Hello…. How embarrassed do you feel today, more than 3 years later ?….
Ha ha, exactly what I’m thinking, Fred!
To a man with a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. I’m afraid all you’ve held is a hammer.