Money makes the world go round. Really! Even when it comes to Facebook, we don’t discuss privacy. No, we talk about monetization. Because THAT is the main issue, according to Dave McClure from Master of 500 hats:
While Facebook annual growth at 130%+ is impressive, as is pulling in $300M in cash for just 2% of equity, the fact that Facebook really hasn’t figured out where its core future revenue stream is coming from is a problem. It’s a problem for the company, for its growing developer community, for the advertisers it’s working so hard to get, and ultimately — if it doesn’t figure it out — for its users.
McClure writes that every platform monopolist has a money engine. Google for instance, has Adsense, Microsoft is earning big bucks with Windows & Office and Intel loves the chips.
Clearly, McClure is the expert here. He’s the one who has 20 years of experience and I’m just around for two years. Yet, I have the feeling that finding the ultimate money source shouldn’t be the number one priority for Facebook. If you asked me, I would say that loving your users is the smart thing to do. Treat them right, listen to their wishes and fulfill their needs. If they say that those damn Snowball, Super Wall and whatever application you can make up, is starting to irritate them, you give them an anti-clutter tool.
As McClure says: “Google took nearly 3-4 years to figure out its monetization engine (Adwords)”. Isn’t that because they were improving their services for the users, and while doing so, came up with a brilliant idea to make some money out of them? Let Facebook do they same. Improve their service, and with that, wipe out the competition. And of course, always keep your eyes open for that money engine. The traditional American business motto ‘be good for your customers’, is still valid in this new era.
More money talk: Mika from Dosh Dosh describes 16 types of websites you can create for profit. “Successful web entrepreneurs think like investors”, says Mika. So they build auction-, dating- and affiliate review websites…
However, I was once told by Scott Heiferman, CEO and co-founder of Meetup.com, that you shouldn’t start an Internet company with an advertise driven mind. During a seminar at New York University in 2006, he explained that his business statement is: “Are you gonna help people or not?”
Let’s all think about that for a while. Are we gonna serve users? Are we going to help them fixing their street, meeting people with the same hobby or protecting their children? Or are we’re just interested in making money out of them?