Facebook crushes hopes of critics

After weeks of stone-throwing prompted by IPO, critics now pitch Nerf


It's a big week for Facebook haters. First the F'book was forced into allowing a vote on its usage policy and was then slammed by the same critic for keeping portions of a vote it never wanted to hold under wraps.

Then a Wall Street analyst predicted the biggest social network, which recently went public to the sound of ecstatic giggles from the founder and envious gnashing of teeth from everyone else, predicted Facebook would be gone entirely within five to eight years. The prediction was based partially on a single soft spot in a business model built on a foundation of chewing gum and Jell-O cubes.

Then Reuters published a poll of 1,000 randomly chosen Americans, 79 percent of whom use Facebook, and found a third use it less than they did six months ago. That prompted howls of glee from more critics, who figure the equitably distributed results herald Facebook's downfall from disinterest rather than financial disaster.

The unfortunate thing is that none of those things are real harbingers of doom. Even taken together they don't add up to anything that could sink a company designed to welcome customers as if it's the host of a social event, then steal all the private stuff from their pockets and sell them out the back door.

That flies in the face of the legitimate-sounding but utter tripe mouthed by carnivorous capitalists such as Eric Jackson, founder of Ironfire Capital, who predicted Facebook would be gone in less than 10 years. The whole market is shifting to mobile, not laptops and PCs, and Facebook admitted in its IPO that it has no real idea how to make money from mobile users.

Critic spills secret that Facebook is a "web site"

At its heart, Facebook is still "a big, fat website and that's different from a mobile app," Jackson said.

While it's good he can tell the difference between a site and an app, Jackson relies a little too heavily on the black-and-white, win-or-die criterion for success.

Yahoo, for example, is worth a fraction what it was right after its own IPO a decade ago, when residual giddiness over the Internet bubble combined with the normal irrational optimism of the early stakeholders in a company about to go public boosted Yahoo's paper value to many times its real one.

"Yahoo is still making money, it's still profitable, still has 13,000 employees working for it, but it's 10 percent of the value that it was at the height of 2000. For all intents and purposes, it's disappeared," Jackson told CNBC.

Yahoo does not bestride the Earth like a colossus.

Its enemies do not tremble in fear and wet themselves before it.

Its mustache does not bring all the girls to the yard.

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