Rupert Murdoch warning Facebook to watch its six. And, yes, he did buy “crappy MySpace” in July 2005 for $580M, and sold it for $20-30M in 2011. He paid a half a billion to learn that lesson. I wonder how much Facebook stock he has?
Mat Honan thinks Facebook might have a success with Facebook Home, because it is so timid that it will appeal to people afraid of the Web.
The long rumored Facebook phone turned out not to be a phone at all. Or even a new OS or a fork of the Android operating system like Amazon’s Kindle Fire. It’s something more than an application, and slightly less than an operating system. As Wired.com editor Mark McClusky described it, Facebook Home is an “apperating system.” The genius of the Facebook phone is that the company made a phone without making a phone at all. It’s not overly ambitious. It’s not a big bet. And that’s why it may have such a huge payoff.
Over the past few days, lots of pundits have been asking who this is for. Facebook gave us an answer today: It’s for people who don’t care about a rich, full experience on the Internet, yet love Facebook. People who want to run apps, but are overwhelmed by them. People who want to connect with friends and family, but want it to be super easy to do so. For many people, Facebook is the Internet, just as AOL was before it. And just as Facebook is the best way for them to experience the Internet in a browser, Facebook Home is going to be the best way for those people to experience the Internet on a phone.
As I wrote in 2010, Facebook Is The New AOL:
Facebook is managing the chaos of social interaction on the web, normalizing it and standardizing it for us, just as AOL made the web neat and tidy. That seemed a winning proposition in the late ’90s, which led to astonishing valuations for AOL. They acquired Time-Warner using that wealth, and in 2002 Time-Warner wrote off $600M as AOL started to fall. Now, AOL has been spun out, and has no central role in our experience of the web. 10 years is a long time. Time-Warner is now the second largest entertainment company in the world.
The moral of this story is that you can make a business out of simplifying what is chaotic and confusing, but only at the outset. As people become habituated to what at first was scary and headache-inducing, they will move away from controlled experience to more personally managed negotiation of the world.
‘But, all my friends are on Facebook!’ That was true in 1999 about AOL, too. All my friends had AIM accounts, so it was the best place for instant messaging. Until Yahoo and MSN offered audio and then video, and blogging broke loose. And then everything changed with broadband.
On Monday, Facebook put up a blog post saying “engagement has gone up 34 percent on posts from people who have more than 10,000 followers.” But Facebook did not share real numbers or metrics, leaving people guessing what 34 percent actually equals.
Meanwhile, over the weekend my Inbox filled up with dozens of e-mails from people who owned small businesses and said they had also been affected by Facebook’s news feed changes.
One of those e-mails came from a small father-and-son Web-based motorcycle company in Florida, BikersPost. The company said it had built most of its business around Facebook, but was now unable to reach its fans. Although Facebook is asking public figures to pay $7 per post to reach their subscribers, BikersPost says it is sometimes being told to pay as much $7,500 to reach the core of its subscribers and their friends.
Kris Olivera, who co-runs BikersPost, said that when his fan page had 200,000 fans, it was getting much more traffic than it did today with more than 600,000 fans. “After Facebook introduced promoted posts, we see much less traffic than a year ago,” he said.
In a statement to The New York Times, Facebook said it was not suppressing content to highlight paid posts.
Facebook is equivocating with the ‘most popular’ posts language. They have throttled down the feeds in order to gouge businesses to pay. Facebook will find pay-for-play self-defeating. Companies will drop out.
Gary Tan surveyed a bunch of teenagers about social network use, and manages to spend the whole article talking about Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, even when Tumblr caputures the largest use across the board:
I surveyed 1,038 people in two groups — those aged 13-18 (546 responses) and 19-25 (492 responses) and asked which services they used regularly (defined by several hours per week or more, multiple answers OK).
I find the growing adoption of Tumblr over Facebook and Twitter a really fascinating development. Since Tan didn’t ask much about what the kids are actually doing on these services we don’t know if Tumblr use is for ‘photos only’ and principally for hipster middle schoolers passing along other’s posts as Josh Miller’s teenage sister said recently.
Another proof in the works that Facebook is the new AOL. You’ll start hearing the stories about why Facebook should start buying media companies or a TV network, next.
This is inevitable, because Facebook is the new AOL:
Rebecca Greenfield via The Atlantic Wire
Over the last month, Facebook has not only seen a 1.1 percent drop in U.S. users, but a decline in 14 of the 23 countries where it has 50 percent penetration, found an analyst using tracking software. Beyond numbers though, another metric, the American Consumer Satisfaction Index, found over the last year the users that have stayed are less satisfied. Facebook scored a 61, which not only represents over a 7 percent decrease from one year ago, but puts it well below Google+.
The end will be sooner that most imagine: in three years, Facebook will be a has been.
Junddep Junnarkar and Jim Hu, AOL to buy Time Warner in historic merger - CNET News, 2000
In a stunning announcement, America Online said today that it will acquire Time Warner to create the world’s largest media company.
The new company will be called AOL Time Warner and will combine AOL’s online services with Time Warner’s vast media and cable assets. In a world where online services, media and entertainment are rapidly converging, the new company could have almost unparalleled resources.
"It is probably the most significant development in the Internet business world to date," said Phil Leigh, an analyst at Raymond James. "If it hasn’t been evident to most of us yet, it should be obvious to us now that the Internet is about audio and video and not just merely text and graphics."
News of the merger, the largest in corporate history, sent Time Warner’s stock up at “dot-com” speed, with shares rising $25.31, or 39 percent, to $90.06. The stock has traded as high as $78.63 and as low as $57.19 during the past 52 weeks.
AOL, on the other hand, rose early but ended the day lower, falling $1.88, or more than 2 percent, to $71.88. The stock has traded as high as $95.81 and as low as $32.50 during the past 52 weeks.
The purchase, an all-stock deal, amounted to more than $160 billion based on today’s trading prices. According to both companies, the new firm will have an estimated combined value of $350 billion.
Today’s deal also gives AOL access to Time Warner’s media properties such as CNN, Warner Bros., Sports Illustrated and many others.
The new company will have more than 100 million paying subscribers, including AOL’s dial-up customers and Time Warner’s cable and magazine subscribers, AOL chief financial officer J. Michael Kelly said at the news conference.
Steve Case, the chairman and chief executive of AOL, will become chairman of the board of the new company. Time Warner’s Levin will become AOL Time Warner’s CEO.
Analysts said that the Net landscape is likely to change rapidly over the course of the year as large capitalized Internet firms look to acquire media companies. Web portal Yahoo has a market cap of $107 billion—far greater than some leading media companies, including Disney, which has a cap of $64.19 billion.
"About 18 months ago, the feeling was that some of the media companies would buy Internet companies, but what happened is that the valuations got so reversed that it is really the opposite that is likely," said Raymond James’ Leigh. "With 55 percent of the new company’s stock being controlled by AOL shareholders, I think AOL is in the driver’s seat. Today’s deal is psychologically a big step, and now it is likely that we will see others come along."
For all those folks who forget how much of a world-beater AOL Time Warner seemed, and how well positioned it was for the broadband era just over the horizon.
The same is being said now about Facebook.
- Dave Winer, Scoble: I’ll go down with the ship via Scripting News
Facebook is the new AOL, despite the market cap. But it’s headed for a hard landing for other reasons than Winer is pushing. Facebook will fail because of the imminent rise of social operating systems — future versions of iOS, Mac OS X, and Android — which will break the Facebook monolith to bits.
Bryce Roberts, For Whom Is This Service Built?
As I absorbed the new messaging around Facebook as the place to tell the stories of our lives I couldn’t help but be reminded of a post Fred wrote when Google launched their Facebook killer. In it, Fred surfaced a question he had when looking at why Google was requiring use of “real names” as a condition of Google+:
It begs the question of whom Google built this service for? You or them. And the answer to why you need to use your real name in the service is because they need you to. Well at least we got that out there and can deal with it.
I had the same feeling looking at the new Facebook- for whom were these new features built?
Does all of this new structure make my experience more engaging? Or does the added structure make my experience easier to index? Does the connection to my past posts inspire me to add more chapters of my life’s story? Or does it remind me of how much of my personal information Facebook owns to make me rethink leaving for other service? Is Facebook really interested in helping me tell the story of my own life? Or are they more interested in having me help them tell the story of my life to their app developers, partners and advertisers?
We are onto Facebook, but the average person doesn’t care.
I am a philosopher: I am interested in broad answers to general questions. Most people are living in a more constrained way, looking for simple answers to narrow questions. Facebook works in that context.
Facebook will be blindsided by tectonic technology shifts, not an exposé of how and why the Open Graph is designed to ransack our lives, stealing every quarter from the back of the sofa and milking every episode of our online lives for royalties.
I just hope that social operating systems come soon, and Facebook is caught wrong-footed.
Another brilliant mind that thinks Facebook is the new AOL:
Speaking at an event organised by the Guardian, [Vint] Cerf said that Facebook was at risk of following the path of companies such as AOL, whose original business model became irrelevant, or being rendered obsolete like proprietary networking systems once invented by the likes of IBM.
Amongst US technologists, comparing Facebook to the old AOL or outdated IBM technology is a way of trying to argue by analogy that the wildly successful social network has no long term future - and comes in the week when Google is desperately trying to break Facebook’s dominance with the launch of its own Google+.
Cerf first noted that AOL began in the 1980s as “a walled garden model” that “persisted for quite a while until the users of AOL forced it to be made accessible to the internet” - and that IBM persisted with “proprietary networking protocols” and was only forced to adopt internet technology for its computers because “users didn’t want to be locked in” to one brand of hardware.
He went onto to say that “Facebook was becoming that way” as “a closed walled garden” and that its problem was that the “ability to connect to people inside the walled garden” would be overwhelmed by “a desire to interconnect” to other social networks or websites.
AOL was forced into a painful business transition that has gradually seen the company migrate from providing its own version of the internet into an online publisher, while the IBM technology he described no longer exists. Facebook, however, remains on a rapid growth path with its revenues doubling to $1.6bn in the first half of this year.
Facebook’s painful business transition will come with the rise of social operating systems, starting in 2012.