Feeds

Facebook's Googly IPO delivers on Sun man's vision

Selling data ain't like shiftin' boxes, boy

The essential guide to IT transformation

Facebook 'Likes' you

What we have is a company that roughly doubled revenue and net income between 2010 and 2011 while net income has remained at about a third of revenue.

Growth is paramount, both in revenue and users. This is because the first is predicated in part on the other, thanks to the fact Facebook is a free service for end users but charges the advertisers who target them.

Advertising is “substantial” part of the Facebook business, the filing says, any loss of advertisers or a reduction in ad spend could “seriously harm our business”. With growth stalling in the US, Facebook is looking for new users abroad: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Korea.

Growth in mobile is key, both in terms of reaching more users in different places and in serving ads to devices – something Facebook doesn’t currently do.

To achieve growth, Facebook must find new ways to exploit the data that it has on 845 million people, and do so while remaining legal.

Facebook is working to achieve that with the Like button and with Timeline, which respectively tease out more of our preferences while also making data that's already in Facebook easier to find. Ultimately both features will help with the targeting of ads by partners. Timeline and Like are easier to sell as features for the end user and they show that Facebook has come a long way from the days of Beacon, a feature for advertisers billed as being "for people", but which crudely sent data about sites you’d visited back to Facebook’s ads system for targeted ads.

Based on Facebook’s history and its future needs, it is likely Facebook will continue to be tripped up over what it does with the photos, status updates and messages of the 845 million people who use the social-networking site.

Beware privacy rules

As such, Facebook’s IPO points to the prospect of running up against regulators. “Our business is subject to complex and evolving US and foreign laws and regulations regarding privacy, data protection, and other matters. Many of these laws and regulations are subject to change and uncertain interpretation, and could harm our business,” it says.

This is IPO boilerplate, but given Facebook's business is mining people's data and that clouds are already gathering, this chapter on regulatory change is painfully pertinent for Facebook.

The ascendancy of Google, Facebook and others has made it hard to hide from the hungry eye of advertisers, and while we might not have liked what McNealy said, Sun's former CEO was right in his observation – ahead of the game, even.

The problem part is "getting over it” – and it's a problem not least for today’s crop of Silicon Valley giants, who would rather we love them than explain exactly how they’ll make money from our data. ®

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft exits climate denier lobby group
ALEC will have to do without Redmond, it seems
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
True fact: 1 in 4 Brits are now TERRORISTS
YouGov poll reveals terrible truth about the enemy within
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?