What strikes me about Facebook is that they seem to be ‘stuck in the middle’ as it goes in business school. Are they a software developer of a great user experience web service or are they an innovative advertising solution? With all the mounting pressure to monetize they may be falling in the trap to force a monetization strategy that will fail. What comes to mind is the Portal crazy in the late 90s.
Back in late 90s Google created a kick ass search app then just picked up (copied) the search paradigm from Goto.com. Why? Because they developed a great app called search. Search drove Google’s success in advertising because their core competency was in algorithms and data center efficiencies that translated directly to what the ‘scaling’ ad market wanted. Google was smart. They knew what they wanted to do.
Here we see Facebook (I wasn’t invited so I can’t comment on what they presented) rolling out a new design for the profile page. It feels like a little AOLish to me. I just don’t get the feeling that Facebook gets UI, discovery, and search. Are they force fitting the UI, navigation, and user experience to get paid on the monetization side? What I will be looking for here is how well they design the ‘utility’ for users. If they try to hard to monetize they will fail. Facebook has to innovate on the software side or they will lose users fast. Facebook has to solve their ‘clutter problem’. Additionally, I hope that they are more open for integration for developers.
If Facebook screws this up they won’t be the next Google, but instead be a victim of what we saw with Portals in the late 90s. We all know how that ended up.
Will Facebook be the Portal model of Social Networks? What is their core strength?
Facebook seems to be stuck in the middle.