Can Facebook survive in the long run | facebook ipo

Can Facebook Survive In The Long Run?
Now that Facebook is public, speculation about its future heats up
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By Abby Johnson · May 20, 2012 · 40 Comments
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The much-anticipated initial public offering of Facebook, as you surely know by now, has finally taken place. Although the news has garnered a lot of excitement, it has also brought up some questions. Numerous analysts have raised concerns over the future of the company, citing uncertainties about Facebook’s revenue model, mobile strategy, advertising, Mark Zuckerberg’s leadership, and more.

Christian Taylor, CEO of leading Facebook ecommerce platform, Payvment, tells WebProNews he’s not worried about the company’s future.

Francis Gaskins, President of IPODesktop.com Francis Gaskins, the President of IPODesktop, spoke with WebProNews earlier this year, and told us he was skeptical of the future growth of Facebook given its past quarter earnings.

“[If] you look at what happened for December 2010, March, June, and September of 2011, oddly enough, what you will find is the operating earnings were flat,” said Gaskins. “The net after tax earnings were flat, and the margins – the profit margins – went down.”

“The credibility of management’s forecast is very, very important,” he added.

Vitaliy Katsenelson, Chief Investment Officer at Investment Management Associates and Author More recently, we talked with Vitaliy Katsenelson, the Chief Investment Officer at Investment Management Associates and author of The Little Book of Sideways Markets. He too voiced doubt about investing in Facebook and indicated that Wall Street would quickly demand higher revenues and a CEO that is more committed to profitability.

“After a while, investors are going to start looking at it… not as this kind of prized asset, but as a business where genuine cash flow is essential,” he said.

“I want him [Zuckerberg] to think about long term stability,” he continued, “and if he doesn’t, I would just run. I would not touch the stock.”

What’s more, a new poll from Whisper Number does not deliver results in Facebook’s favor either. The financial research firm surveyed 1,100 investors and traders and found that 68 percent of them would not consider Facebook a “buy” after its IPO. When asked if Facebook was a long term investment, 65 percent of those surveyed also answered with “No.”

Christian Taylor, CEO of Payvment Contrary to these viewpoints, there are those who value Facebook very highly. Payvment’s Taylor told WebProNews that he was not at all worried about the company going public or its future, and that the wildly popular social network is much more than Facebook.com. Unlike other destination sites, he told us that Facebook creates a means to connect the entire Internet and world. Specifically, it brings people together while also allowing them to discover news, movies, games, and much more.

“[It’s] something that’s so engrained into the fabric of the entire Internet,” he said. “If you look at Facebook as just a .com entity like you would any other .com place, it’s very narrow-sighted.”

Taylor is also very confident in Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. As a fellow CEO/engineer, he told us that he watches Zuckerberg’s leadership “in awe.”

“The reason why Facebook can still innovate to this day, and the reason why whenever I talk to an employee of Facebook, they’re excited to be working there – they truly do feel like they’re changing the world… that is Mark Zuckerberg’s doing,” pointed out Taylor.

“He’s really the guy that rallies that company and will going forward,” he added.

Taylor believes so strongly in Facebook and its CEO that he built his own company on top of the social network. Payvment, as he explained, allows businesses to add ecommerce to Facebook in order to create a new social shopping experience. At this point, it has more than 160,000 businesses using its apps to promote their products and services on Facebook and is adding hundreds more daily.

“We’re really truly inventing a completely different kind of shopping when it comes to shopping on a social network such as Facebook,” he said.

It is this new shopping experience and the “huge possibilities” that it brings that makes Facebook a good investment to Taylor. He’s not concerned about competition from Amazon or eBay since Facebook enables serendipitous shopping. In other words, users shop based on what is happening in the Facebook environment. For instance, around the season premiere of the hit show the “Walking Dead,” Payvment noticed that zombie related items were their top sellers.

Taylor believes that Facebook will build upon its ecommerce platform and utilize it for further monetization. He envisions the current gaming “credits” being integrated into ecommerce in a way that makes shopping universal and seamless through the Facebook platform. With Facebook’s IPO, Taylor told us that he could see this potential concept and other innovations happening very quickly.

“A lot of times… when companies go IPO and they get big,” he said, “they have a tendency to slow down. But, I have a feeling that… we’re gonna see the complete opposite.”

Facebook better not slow down, because it has a lot more competitors than those mentioned. The giant elephant in the competition room, of course, is Google, who also happens to have a pretty wide presence throughout the web (beyond Google.com).

It’s not just a matter of Google+ vs. Facebook. Facebook is clearly lightyears ahead on that front. Advertising is another matter, however. Take a look at this infographic comparing Google and Facebook in terms of advertising and revenue:

Facebook vs. Google Display Advertising – Comparing the value of the world’s largest advertising venues. [INFOGRAPHIC]

There has been a fair amount of controversy this week around Facebook ads, with GM deciding to pull the $10 million it spends on them, in favor of trying the free content-centric Facebook Page/Timeline approach. As unfortunate as it is for the social network, the fact is that this approach is certainly going to continue to be an attractive strategy for many businesses. Of course, it’s always a matter of News Feed visibility, which is controlled by Facebook and its algorithm.

Some, as Taylor suggested, think Facebook Credits might become a bigger source of revenue for the company.

In Facebook’s defense though, there aren’t many companies that can claim to have a significant user base of addicts. A recent study found that Facebook is slowly becoming the reason to pay the Internet bill, at least in the U.S.

You don’t hear about “Google addicts” so much, although Google’s YouTube is certainly an Internet hotspot. The search giant is also trying to ramp up interaction on Google+ in hopes of turning it into the next big social hub.

On the other hand, a recent poll found that half the U.S. thinks Facebook is a passing trend. And why not? We’ve all seen other hugely popular social sites emerge and fizzle out. But again, Facebook is much more integrated with the web at large than any of those ever were.

And, of course, Facebook is huge around the entire world


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