Facebook loses a few bitches
Facebook has suffered its first drop in monthly users, according to numbers from web analytics outfit Nielsen Online.
Five per cent fewer people in the UK visited the site in January compared to the previous month. A total of 400,000 seem to have become bored with the social network and didn't bother to return.
A year earlier Facebook was still growing rapidly, despite the usual seasonal dip experienced online.
The slide is very bad news for Facebook. Rapid user growth is all it has to show for its massive investment in servers, and now it looks like even that story is evaporating. The only company bringing in significant revenue from Facebook is Rackable Systems, its hardware provider.
Advertisers - the people Facebook's venture capital backers hope will pay for it all in the end - have yet to swallow the line that Facebook represents a revolution in media or that targeting ads based on the personal information users give up is a useful new marketing technique.
Similar drops in interest have hit Facebook's competitors. Bebo has seen an eight per cent drop in UK users since October.
MySpace, meanwhile, has seen 14 per cent of UK users desert it in the last three months. Google, the undisputed motherbrain of flogging ad space online, says it has yet to find a way of turning the News Corp site's traffic into dollars.
Remember when Facebook was the future and supposedly worth $15bn? Stand back, because this fail is going to be epic. ®
These are just Fads
Everything on the web is a fad unless it solves or improves on a problem in the realworld like Ebay or Amazon.
They work because their business model isn't based on advertising but on the fact people "need" to come to their site i.e. to buy something.
These fad sites work for a while because people join for a while simply because word of mouth spreads around the idea that they are cool - and then those people then look cooler by having lots of friends forcing them to recruit more and then those people etc completing the circle. They don't solve any real problem, as once everyone signs up who's going to and you add your friends. That's it there's no problem they solve, even something like invites to parties can be solved better with a mass email or sms and then you're more guranteed to get a response.
The world is insane all the same when it comes to the web as it's obvious most people have no idea what will make money in the long term or maybe they simply gamble that they're not the person holding the shares when everyone gets bored of it - however that doesn't explain BIG companies buying them.
The creepy thing is that Facebook was supposed to be the Friends Reunited of our generation and we all know what happened to that... people found their old school mates, realised it would cost a fiver subscription to get in touch with them and then didn't bother.
FR had a massive advantage over FB because it was designed to solve a problem, to get people in touch with each other. FB was designed for picture sharing at college but has now lost its way. The 'friend finder' only allows you to locate people who you already have in your email address directory (so people you are already in touch with) and was basically designed to increase the userbase.
If I want to find a person whose name I can't quite remember but who I met on Sark while I was living there 8 years ago then Facebook is not the tool for the job... if I want to find the friend of a friend that I met a few weeks back and who was photographed and correctly tagged then Facebook is (or at least used to be). Now, however, I have the contact details of everyone I want to contact so FB is useless to me other than for the photo sharing features (which was the attraction in the first place).
If they lose the apps or scale down the apps (maybe by removing all invite features) then I may stick with it but considering a mildly skilled PHP hacker (in the correct sense of the word) managed to hack together an app in about 2 hours (including 15 mins reading the documentation) it's just too easy for any old git to pollute the experience with silly vampire/ninja/pirate/werewolf junk.
Where are all the teenagers going to download their trojans and adware from now?