The fall of Rome; the dissolution of the Mongol Empire; the death of Facebook? Okay, so Facebook isn’t so much a glorious empire as it is Satan’s ploy to screw civilization over, but that still doesn’t mean it won’t succumb to the fate that all great empires do. If you can’t remember what it was like to bathe with old naked dudes in ancient Rome or weren’t privileged enough to raze villages while a part of Genghis Khan’s cavalry, then just try to remember several years back. Facebook was once positioned to be the next MySpace, from which it did end up usurping the social network crown that was once originally held way back when by Friendster. Is the fall of Facebook next? Is there a “next Facebook” on the horizon?
According to Eric Jackson, the founder of investment firm Ironfire Capital, Facebook is set to expire in 5-8 years. In other words, you may be experiencing Facebook’s apex at this very moment. In an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street,” Jackson said, “In five to eight years they are going to disappear in the way that Yahoo has disappeared. 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.”
In internet time, blink an eye and you may have missed the boat on the next big thing. With that being the case, Facebook has been asleep for an eternity now on the emerging mobile market, a market that is positioned to be Web 3.0. They’ve tried to make an inroads to the mobile market with their acquisition of Instagram, the development of a Facebook phone, and their new app, Camera. But it’s perhaps too little too late; trendy social networking apps (the next kings of social?) have the jump on Facebook and Facebook’s own titular Facebook app has been a buggy flop.
“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,” Jackson told CNBC. “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. Facebook can buy a bunch of mobile companies, but they are still a big, fat website and that’s different from a mobile app.”
Adding to Facebook’s troubles are their noted problems monetizing, an issue that’s made their IPO slide. A Reuters poll released on Monday revealed that four out of five Facebook users have “never bought a product or service as a result of advertising or comments on the social network site,” perhaps indicative of critics’ concerns that Facebook is unable to convert its 900 million users into dollar signs. In addition, 34 percent of respondents to the poll said that they were spending less time on Facebook than they were six months ago, with the main reasons for their downturn being that the site was “boring,” “not relevant,” or “not useful.” Piling on the bad news, 44 percent of those polled said their impression of Facebook took a negative turn because of Facebook’s market debut, a debut that has had investors pointing fingers. Overall, there’s a noticeable Facebook fatigue swirling all around, and it’s been building for months now; back in May, an Associated Press-CNBC poll found that 46 percent of respondents thought Facebook was merely a passing fad, and 60 percent of them said they had little to no faith that the social giant would protect their personal information.
Despite all the signs of impending doom, however, Facebook is still undeniably an internet behemoth. Rumors of its death are greatly exaggerated – at least for now.
Will Facebook be dead by 2020?