Facebook's IPO will be the worst investment in tech history

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The social network has its fingers in a majority of websites in one way or another. Businesses promote their Facebook pages on the homepage of their websites. Blogs, bloggers, journalists, and mainstream publications often have several different Facebook widgets littered everywhere on every page. In less than a month, Facebook will have over 700 million users.

It sounds like a safe bet. In reality, it’s guaranteed to be an utter failure in the not-so-long run based upon a combination of history, reality, and mathematics.

 

The Platform

Matrix

The biggest challenge that innovative service sites such as Facebook must address is keeping the technology relevant. MySpace’s bling designs were hot in the beginning but proved to be part of their eventual downfall. Twitter addressed their situation early enough to escape the initial challenges, but their platform is on course to be outdated if they don’t continue to innovate.

Facebook has the unique challenges of bulk and polarization. While they must try to continue to innovate and keep their features up to par with smaller, more nimble and focused competitors, they are also trapped with the very thing that helps to keep them strong – a recognizable platform. Every tweak and turn they make is met with criticism because human nature prefers the familiar. Redesigns and UI changes have tanked social media sites in the past (MySpace, Digg, Propeller, to name a few). On the other hand, the technology is already fairly clunky and outdated.

To win, they must be able to transition their massive userbase to a platform that is better suited for the future. We’re a couple of months into the iPad 2 and there is still no app for it (though one is on its way). Integration with other websites has been their strength and the mass adoption there has been extremely positive, but on the site itself, most still have challenges with finding all of the features.

It’s okay today. We’re tolerant with it the way it is because there are no valid alternatives and everyone else is on it. Without a challenger, they don’t necessarily need to have the best UI. Eventually, they will. Can the make the move in a year or two when they have nearly a billion users? It’s possible, but it’s a factor that is rarely looked at (for some reason) by investors who are focused so heavily on today and the control they have over their users.

Eventually, there will be a glitch in the matrix. It’s inevitable. Some sites can handle it. The bigger you are, however, the harder it is to do right.

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Written by JD Rucker

+JD Rucker is Editor at Soshable, a Social Media Marketing Blog. He is a Christian, a husband, a father, and founder of both Judeo Christian Church and Dealer Authority. He drinks a lot of coffee, usually in the form of a 5-shot espresso over ice. Find him on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.
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Comments
  • Anonymous

    Wow that makes a lot of sense dude, I mean seriously who would have thunk it.

    web-privacy.no.tc

  • http://www.youbrandinc.com scottscanlon

    great read… hard to fathom that Facebook could have a higher valuation than Amazon or a third of Apple. The Myspace comparison is tough though… first the platform was not as widely adopted as FB. Second, Myspace didn’t get it’s hooks embedded into websites or sign-on. Also it to me it seemed more personality focused and not platform focused. Ultimately I agree with most of your points on the valuation front but I’m wondering really where FB as a platform will go beyond that.

    • http://soshable.com JD Rucker

      It’s easy for me to be harsh, perhaps a little too harsh to make a point. You’re right – Facebook is definitely not in the same situation that MySpace was in when they were on top, but it’s easier for people to see things from a historical perspective.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1331550360 Anonymous

    You are complaining about having an app on a ipad when you could just open your browser and go to facebook and get ALL THE FEATURES that the app wont have. When people think apps are important it shows the level to which they understand technology. APPS are going to die. The future is in web apps, have you seen the mobile google homepage? its only the beginning and its where the future lies. Mark my words. 

  • Anonymous

    Facebook is a going to die. 

  • Anonymous

    The $600M net income is a lie.  Facebook is practicing accounting fraud.

  • Anonymous

    Facebook is like Myspace.  People don’t use Facebook anymore because it is not something people like. 

  • http://www.techblaster.net/ Techmaker

    With the development of Google Plus, Facebook faced a serious trouble in keeping the usual amount of traffic to Facebook. But as I see, Google plus didn’t do a huge damage to Facebook.
    What is your opinion?

    Anyway thanks for the above share.