People keep sending me these links to "Facebook Will 'Disappear' in 10 Years" articles, so I'll restate why headlines like this are just link bait and written by people who don't understand the internet. I'll be arguing against the points made in the previously linked article, but what I write can be applied to all the ridiculous articles about Facebook and other "sky is falling" social doom pieces.
"In five to eight years they are going to disappear in the way that Yahoo has disappeared..."
The first issue I take with Eric Jackson (Founder of Ironfire Capital), is the comparison of Facebook to Yahoo. First, to say Yahoo has disappeared is only partially accurate. Yahoo as a search engine or "news" site is fairly dead, but they also run a service called Flickr. Flickr is still a very popular way to share photos, especially for photographers considering their piracy protection. I actually subscribe to the pro account for $25 per year that allows for unlimited uploads with no storage cap.
But the real issue lies in comparing the two. Yes, Yahoo missed the boat when Web 2.0 came around. They never got to mobile, they didn't put forth enough effort in social (Flickr could have become the first Instagram if they knew what they were doing) and they didn't know what people wanted to see on a website. Just look at their current homepage (www.yahoo.com) and you'll immediately see why they have failed. In a culture where good design and a slick UI is expected, they blew it.
While Yahoo remains stagnant, Facebook is constantly adding new features to both the desktop and on mobile devices. For better or worse, they released the new Timeline view for profiles and pages just months ago. I happen to like the new look and find it much more useful. They also just added the ability for business pages to schedule their posts, a small but great feature. To monetize, a business page can now pay $5, $10 or $20 to make sure their post is seen by a certain number of people. All these changes only within the past few months.
Facebook has also released two, robust mobile applications in the past 30 days. The Facebook app for Pages allows admins to manage their page and review insights with a simple and intuitive interface. I welcomes this app and it has helped me manage the 6-8 Facebook pages I admin. The Facebook Camera app was also just released, originally developed to be an Instagram competitor most likely, but it allows users to tag multiple people in a photo, upload batches of pictures, and is a great way to view a photo-only news feed.
"Look at how Google has struggled moving into social, and I think Facebook is going to have the same kind of challenges moving into mobile…"
Google is struggling with the move to social because it was originally and is still mainly, a search engine. Over 90% of Google's revenue comes from advertisements via their search, they have no reason to put an emphasis on their social network. Facebook on the other hand, was created to be a social network. That has been its sole purpose and is still its main function. In addition, many successful apps and companies are using Facebook credentials for new users to sign up.
Spotify is a prime example of another up and coming, popular service that is deeply integrated with Facebook. Spotify is just starting out and the idea of music subscriptions have a ways to go, but this kind of partnership was never experienced by Yahoo or other companies who have "disappeared."
"Since its controversial blockbuster IPO, Facebook’s stock has lost over a quarter of its value as investors wonder whether the company can get its act together."
Facebook's IPO made it and its investors millions of dollars, despite the drop in share price. The stock itself was overpriced when it went public, hence the decline. My prediction, at WWDC next week Apple will announce deep Facebook integration with the new version of iOS for iPhone and iPad. This was alluded to by Tim Cook, Apple's CEO at the All Things D Conference last week. If Apple comes on board and starts supporting Facebook as an integrated service, plus rumors of Google doing the same at its large annual event in July, Facebook's value will rise and the stock price will reflect longevity in the company rather than doom.
"The world is moving faster, it's getting more competitive, not less, and I think those who are dominant in their prior generation are really going to have a hard time moving into this newer generation..."
By the end of this year, Facebook will have over 1 billion users. If any company understands the newer generation, its Facebook. It's founder is still in his twenties! Few companies are moving as quickly and have updated their offerings like Facebook. While the service is not perfect, people are addicted to it. Just look around in any public place and you will see at least 50% of the people on their device, looking at Facebook. Facebook has also claimed that half of its users access their feed via a mobile device, which we know to be the future.
These articles and analysts claiming Facebook will go by the wayside like Yahoo don't understand the internet. You cannot compare Facebook, a wildly successful company whose sole creation and purpose was social, to Yahoo; a crippled search engine that never updated or moved with the times. Will Facebook lose some steam in the long run? Probably. I mean there are only 7 billion people in the world and Facebook has already claimed the 1st billion.
What do you think? Will Facebook disappear by 2022?