Facebook, Facebook, Facebook. It’s everywhere in the news these days, and company’s IPO has gotten business media excited and gossiping. Was the company overvalued? Who knew it was overvalued? What is an accurate valuation of the social giant? How can Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) monetize its mobile user base? When to buy, when to sell?
Wall Street and those in the business of investing have a right to ask those questions, especially considering share prices since the company went public. Those are the talking points of the realm in which they operate. From what we’ve heard from Facebook, it would seem the social network is motivated by a whole other set of priorities (or wants us to think it is). If what Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is saying is true, the company doesn’t really need to seduce investors on a grand scale, or even monetize to its maximum capability—it just has to stay afloat and make enough to grow and keep its user base.
Just prior to ringing the bell at NASDAQ on May 18, Zuckerberg underscored the company’s mission to make the world “more open and connected.” He even said flat out that Facebook’s mission “isn’t to be a public company.” If that really is the case, what does exactly that mean?
On its face, it seems to mean that pleasing investors and maximizing profits is secondary to accruing an ever-larger community of users. Of course, once you get member, you have to keep them. Is that why the company is supposedly interested in having a browser through the acquisition of Opera Software? Is that why the company is rumored to be getting into the phone business? Is the addition of another browser in the online world and another phone option essential or even helpful in making the world more connected? Seriously, I’d like to know. And if so, how?
Facebook is not a non-profit, it needs to make a buck. It also operates in a dynamic space where new technologies and strategies can change the game and the players, quickly. I don’t think its enough for the company to break even—it has to position itself to survive, and since the company’s core offering is its only real hands down compelling, winning product, that may take to some savvy strategizing.
The question is, do Facebook’s actions suggest that it is indeed put connectivity and user satisfaction above profit and revenue growth? Are its monetization attempts coming at the expense of its users’ experiences? What do you think?
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