It’s finally happening. Facebook is planning an initial public offering for sometime next year, with an expected value of $100 billion. Yes, billion. With a B.
News sources say that it is expected that the social networking giant will be issuing its IPO sometime in the first quarter of next year, but is $100 billion a bit much for a company that could fade into insignificance the same way AOL has done?
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy my time on Facebook, but I rarely do more than check my friends’ status updates — its utility is little more than a fancy forum to me. I can safely say that I am not alone in this, and I would actually imagine that I’m probably the “typical” Facebook user.
So how can a website that, for most people, doesn’t offer much more than a simple way to quickly view what other friends are doing survive and thrive? Data. Facebook has an absurd amount of data about each and everyone of us on there.
Yes, they do advertising as well, but I would put money on the fact that the potential revenue from data mining is much higher than the small amount of advertising that goes on (and is probably blocked by your tech-savvy users). The sheer volume of data that its users are freely and actively giving it is golden to the Big Brands, researchers, politicos, and pretty much anyone who wants to know what the public is thinking.
Facebook can’t sit on its collective laurel and hope to keep raking in the dough. In the tech world it is easy, and quite common, for any of the giants to be picked off by any number of competitors. If they want to show that they are worth the $100 billion, Facebook will have to continue to innovate and make the web experience a seamless and enjoyable experience.