Despite the media frenzy over Facebook's impending IPO, all isn't 100% rosy for Facebook. Two things I've recently read highlight what I consider to be pretty big fails on Facebook's part, and, were I considering investing in Facebook (which I never in a million years would do), would give me pause:
- Social Readers are collapsing. Wow, "frictionless sharing" is annoying people and backfiring? Who could have called that one? To me, the bigger story here is that people do not have infinite patience for just accepting whatever Facebook throws at them. Facebook is notorious for privacy breeches, constant tweaks that affect functionality that users have invested time and possibly money in, and just overall non-responsiveness to, well, just about anyone. Also that Facebook has no problems stabbing businesses in the back. The Washington Post and other publications invest time and money rolling out social reader apps. Then Facebook changes the way "trending articles" are displayed. and suddenly the magical "engagement" Facebook no doubt promised would be the result of implementing a social reader app goes up in a puff of smoke.
- Facebook ad click through is horrible. 85% of Facebook's 2011 revenue came from ads. But click through rates for Facebook ads are only half the industry-standard. And as ads are performing worse, the cost is increasing. Also, Facebook is failing the very businesses responsible for their nearly $100 billion valuation: advertisers. Add all that together and it kind of seems like a perfect storm is brewing, if you ask me.