What’s Coming in Internet Advertising: 12 Predictions for 2012

I did my annual predictions first on my Forbes blog, The New Persuaders, since they’re focused largely on the Internet media and advertising I cover there. On that blog, they’re done as separate posts, but I wanted to gather them up in one place here, as I’ve done in previous years. So here’s what I think will happen (or in some cases, not happen) this year in my corner of the technology and startup world:

Facebook goes public, but won’t start an IPO landslide: Facebook will make the signature stock offering of the decade, one that reportedly will value the social network at up to $100 billion. But it won’t launch a thousand IPOs as a gazillion venture capitalists and angel investors hope.

Of course, the first part of that prediction is a gimme. But I can’t go without mentioning it because the Facebook IPO will be one of the biggest stories of 2012. Assuming Goldman Sachs or Morgan Stanley don’t stumble in pricing and selling the offering, Facebook’s IPO will be every bit as important as Google’s in 2004. It will be a sign that Facebook is a real, sustainable company (if there was any doubt left by now), but also a sign that social networking is getting woven into the fabric of our entire online experience.

The second part of the prediction depends less on how the Facebook IPO goes than on how (or whether) the economy recovers. If the recover remains slow to nonexistent and the stock market reflects that, IPOs will be sparse. If we get the slow but growing economic improvement we seem to be seeing now, more companies will go public but not a gusher. But the point is that Facebook is such a singular success that it’s not going to set the tone for lesser (often far lesser) Internet companies.

Facebook’s ad business booms–but not at Google’s expense: Facebook’s social advertising looks promising, but won’t come close to challenging Google’s huge success in search ads this year–maybe ever.

Obviously, Facebook is having no problem raking in the bucks from advertisers eager to reach its 800 million-plus audience–or more specifically, the millions of people in whatever target markets they choose. EMarketer reckons the company will gross nearly $6 billion in ad revenues this year, up from $4 billion in 2011. And that’s before we know anything about Facebook’s likely plans for mobile ads or an ad network a la Google’s AdSense that would spread its ads around the Web.

From reading a lot of articlesyou’d think Facebook is stealing all that money directly from Google. That’s not mainly the case, given Google’s own considerable growth in display advertising, though Facebook’s success may well blunt that growth in the future. Instead, Facebook currently is eating Yahoo’s and AOL’s lunches, and those of many ad networks that, until Facebook ramped up its ad business, were the main alternative for advertisers looking to target sizable audiences.

What would make Facebook a huge Google-scale company is the theft of an entirely different meal: television advertising. After all, Facebook shows much more promise as a brand advertising medium than a direct-marketing medium like Google. It needs only to draw a small fraction of the $60 billion or so spent on television advertising, the biggest brand medium, to be enormously successful. But even then, it’s not mainly a Facebook vs. Google contest.

Facebook still needs to answer a big question, however. That’s whether its “social ads,” which incorporate people’s friends in ads in a 21st century version of word-of-mouth marketing, will have nearly the effectiveness in driving attention and ultimately sales as search ads, which appear in direct response to related queries, often involving products people are looking to buy. The potential is intriguing, and there are some nice examples of how well social advertising can work.

But despite Facebook’s considerable work in providing new kinds of metrics on marketing and advertising impact on its users, marketers and agencies aren’t yet universally convinced they need to spend a lot of money on Facebook ads. After all, they can get a lot of mileage out of their free Facebook Pages and Like buttons around the Web. (Not to mention, it remains to be seen whether these ultra-personal ads will cross what blogger Robert Scoble calls the Facebook freaky line.)

Bottom line: If Facebook is to be the Google of the this decade, its advertising has to at least approach the engagement of search ads, especially as Google itself moves to become more of a brand advertising platform with YouTube and continues its push into display ads. While Facebook is building what seems likely to become a great business on anew vision of advertising that could change many decades of tradition,2012 won’t be the year it closes that deal.

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Do@ Aims to Disrupt Mobile Search–Including Google

It’s ironic, or maybe apropos, that you can’t find anything about the new mobile search application Do@ by Googling it. Google doesn’t track the @ symbol at all. But the Israeli company (pronounced “do-at”), which launched its free iPhone app today at TechCrunch Disrupt in New York, is looking to do a number on Google. It aims to provide a new way to find stuff specifically when you’re on your phone and the iconic list of site links becomes cumbersome. Instead, a search using Do@ helps you zero in quickly what category of information you want and then sends you directly to the app that’s most likely to have just what you’re looking for.

Here’s how it works: Search for, say, “Bob Marley” using Do@, and you’re presented with a drop-down list with the query followed by categories designated with the @ sign, such as @music (where you’ll see results inside apps such as Pandora or iTunes or SoundCloud) or @movies (where the likes of Flixster or IMBD.com provide results).

These categories are relevant to the particular query, so a search on “sushi,” and you see “sushi @restaurants,” “sushi @food,” and so on. Then when you click on one of those, you’re whisked to an app or service such as Foodspotting or Flixster, which then shows its own mobile-optimized results for that query. You can swipe through multiple apps for a query to get more quickly to just what information you want.

You’re seeing only a selected subset of Web sites and services this way, of course, but for common queries made from a mobile phone, that may be better in most cases than a huge list of links. Do@ ranks the lists of apps and services itself at first, but you can choose your favorites or, if you’re signed into Facebook, get your friends’ amalgamated choices. Essentially, says cofounder Ami Ben David, publishers answer users’ queries themselves, using their own apps or services, their own brands, and their own business models.

The judges at the TechCrunch Disrupt startup competition who viewed the demo questioned how Do@ knows the results it’s presenting–that is, the results inside other apps and services–are actually relevant for users. “We try to stay away from making these decisions for users,” Ben David said. The judges, including Bing’s Barney Pell and Google’s Bradley Horowitz, weren’t really buying this, noting that Do@ needs to objectively determine whether its partner apps and services are actually delivering the goods.

When Ben David first demonstrated the service to me in early March, he said Do@, which has $8.6 million in venture funding including a recent $7 million round led by Draper Fisher Jurvetson, is “trying to be completely different.” That’s commendable, but it’s also the company’s key challenge. Google’s list of links may not be perfect for many mobile searches, but it’s still not bad, and Google’s Instant Search solves some of the hassle of doing multiple search queries on a phone keyboard. Persuading users to change their behavior, even for something that may work better in many cases, is a huge hurdle that virtually no Google rival has yet jumped.

And given that Do@ isn’t doing the heavy lifting to index the Web’s huge collection of sites, or vetting the actual search results its partners offer, its key offering amounts to a new user interface for mobile search. Which sounds like a set of features–albeit a very nicely designed set of features, one likely to be copied if it proves effective–more than a company.

What’s Coming on the Internet in 2011 (Or Not)

I know I shouldn’t do it–predictions too often are either obvious or wrong–but I can’t help it. If I have to think about what’s coming in 2011, and I do, I might as well inflict those thoughts on the rest of the world. Isn’t that what blogging is all about? Anyway, here’s what I expect to see this year:

* There will be at least one monster initial public offering in tech. Take your pick (in more or less descending order of likelihood): SkypeGroupon, ZyngaDemand MediaLinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook (only if it has to). But despite many stories that will call this event a bellwether,  the IPO won’t bring back anything like the bubble days of the late 1990s (and thank goodness for that) because there are still only a few marquee names that can net multibillion-dollar valuations. UPDATE: Well, so much for that descending order. LinkedIn apparently will be the first to file–though whether it will be a “monster” IPO is another question. UPDATE 2: Well, here’s that monster IPO–since it’s hard to believe Facebook won’t go public if it has to disclose financials anyway. But it likely won’t happen until early 2012. Update 3: Now Groupon appears to be leading the IPO derby. Update 4, 1/20/11: Now it looks like Demand Media will be the first out. Again, not sure that’s the monster one, but if it’s successful, more will come.

* App fever will cool. Good apps that encapsulate a useful task or bit of entertainment–Angry Birds, AroundMe, Google Voice–will continue to do well. But those apps that do little more than apply a pretty layer atop Web content won’t get much traction–and moneymaking opportunities are uncertain in any case. The bigger issue: Once HTML5 becomes the widespread standard for creating Web services, enabling much more interactive Web services right from the browser, I wonder whether the need for separate apps will gradually fade. Continue reading

Mike Moritz and Steve Streit at TechCrunch Disrupt

Michael Moritz, perhaps the key partner at Sequoia Capital, is “the most powerful venture capitalist in Silicon Valley,” says TechCrunch editor Mike Arrington. Moritz is onstage with Steve Streit, founder and CEO of financial services company Green Dot, a Sequoia-backed company that went public in July at a $2 billion valuation. They’ll be talking about “The Road Less Traveled.”

Streit’s talking about how Green Dot, which issues reloadable prepaid debit cards, got started. What’s more interesting than the particulars is how this company went public completely under the Silicon Valley radar. Probably has a lot to do with being in financial services and aiming to be a bank holding company, which requires adherence to a lot of regulations–and not shooting your mouth off like so many startups do in ways that we love so much. Plus, it takes a long time to make it work in that business–seven years in Green Dot’s case.

Arrington tries to get Streit to describe how Moritz works, but that’s not really working beyond platitudes. Arrington asks Moritz if he’s better at discovering new talent  or making whatever opportunity is there a success? Moritz implies the former, despite Sequoia’s (not always deserved) reputation for replacing founders at the drop of a hat. In fact, Moritz says they look for entrepreneurs who look like they will be able to take the company all the way.

Now Streit opens up a little bit and says: Mike feels investments like Santana feels the guitar. He feels the investment in many ways more than the entrepreneur. He has said, “Steve, you don’t know what you’ve got here, back up a little bit” to realize it.

OK, well that’s it, and wish we’d heard more.

To IPO or Not to IPO: Live at TechCrunch Disrupt

IPOs traditionally are the grease that keeps Silicon Valley’s gears turning. There’s no lack of startups today, but the big question is whether initial public stock offerings will ever become a viable way for investors, founders, and employees to get a return on their money and work. When even the likes of Facebook and Zynga haven’t gone public yet, the prospects for IPOs look almost as bleak as ever. This morning at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference, Benchmark Capital partner Bill Gurley and Michael Grimes, managing director of global technology for Morgan Stanley, will be discussing what we can expect in coming years with TechCrunch editor Erick Schonfeld.

Grimes says there are new ways for companies to get larger sums of money and to help the founders get some liquidity, such as second markets for private stock. There’s a belief that the IPO market is closed. It’s not, but it’s more discriminating. There’s a bit of a supply issue, but there’s also a bit of a demand issue.

Gurley says there won’t be one IPO that will change the IPO market after it. There are 14 companies that IPO’d in the last few (one?) year, but no one writes about it because not as many are happening in Silicon Valley.

So why aren’t Silicon Valley companies going public as much? Grimes says investors think there’s too much of a leap of faith to believing the apparently ready companies are profitable enough. Gurley says companies must be profitable or convince investment groups they will be. That’s tougher now.

Why aren’t the obvious companies such as Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. going public now? Gurley can do whatever they want. LinkedIn has hired a public-company finance guy, they’re getting ready most likely.

Should Facebook go public? Gurley: They get to do whatever they want, they’re extremely successful. The argument that Facebook doesn’t want the scrutiny of being a public company doesn’t hold up. You don’t hear Salesforce’s Marc Benioff or Amazon’s Jeff Bezos saying that.

But they say they’re still experimenting and don’t want to be limited by the need to show quarterly results. Gurley: And Bezos isn’t? But a company as successful as Facebook can raise whatever they want from private sources.

Of the 40 (or is it 14?) or so companies that have gone public in the past year at $1 billion-plus valuations, why are they not very well-known? Gurley: 75% of the deal value is not from Silicon Valley. So people here have blinders on.

So why should Facebook go public at all? Gurley: To get liquidity for shareholders and employees. To do acquisitions. Grimes: The employee liquidity can keep the team motivated to work late nights.

What are the prospects for tech IPOs this year and next? Grimes: Could be 40 or 50 next year, compared with 30 this year. Gurley: I would predict you’ll see Skype and LinkedIn go public.

LIVE from TechCrunch Disrupt: John Doerr, Mark Pincus, Bing Gordon

TechCrunch Disrupt, the tech blog’s annual conference in San Francisco, is underway. I’ll liveblog the highlights of this first panel of luminaries, which is looking at Building Internet Treasures. FYI, John Doerr is a partner at Kleiner Perkins, as is Bing Gordon (former longtime creative guy at Electronic Arts), and Mark Pincus is CEO of social game giant Zynga.

Actually, Doerr is soliciting audience questions for everyone, and then they presumably will address them. They’re all over the place–where do you look for new ideas, what about micropayments, the wisdom of developing on a closed platform (in other words, Facebook), is advertising the revenue model for the Internet, what’s the future of companies like Groupon, what matters most for the future of the Internet, what is the future of social games, is the intelligent Web real or a myth, is there a future for Flash vs. HTML5, Internet disruption in health care.

Pincus starts out. 33 million people as of yesterday played a Zynga game. 1200 full-time people. Won’t disclose revenues.

Pincus says the best companies are creating products and services that we now can’t imagine living without–Amazon, Google, etc. That’s what an Internet “treasure” is. He says Zynga measures its users’ “net promotion score,” which has to do with how much they spread the word of their game experiences to others, if I understand correctly.

Doerr says he’s getting a different sense of games culture today–more analytical than creative. “We’re data junkies. We measure everything,” he says, and Zynga has invested in big data warehouses–more than a petabyte of data a day. “We’re adding a thousand servers a week.” Yikes.

But, he adds, design and creativity still really matters.

Doerr: What is disruptive about social games? Gordon: Four big disruptions from the Internet: Social, analytics, APIable Internet (app economy) and new payment methods. What’s disruptive about social games is that they combine all four in one. Pincus: In summer 2007, I was here for the Facebook apps platform launch (so was I). Games and fun were not a big macro on the Internet yet. The disruptive thing for me was not apps and platforms, but that they took down the barriers to entry to playing games–you could now design games that three clicks in, you know how to play them.

Doerr: Is the social Web going to create other great possibilities beyond games? Pincus: We are going through the biggest change in Internet consumer behavior since using the browser. Somebody will become the travel icon on my phone–and be that throughout the Web as a result. Health is waiting for someone to turn it into a consumer product that’s useful.

Turns out John Doerr’s daughter Mary, in high school when meeting Pincus along with her dad and Gordon to assess whether Kleiner would invest in Zynga, sealed the deal by saying, “He’s cool.”

Pincus: Wanted to keep control of the company to avoid “death by a thousand compromises.”

Doerr: Zynga has the notion that every employee is a CEO. That can’t be right, can it? Pincus: We sure try. People have to define what they’re the CEO of, and how they’re going to kill it (that goal).

Doerr: Is it the app economy? Pincus: Every consumer behavior on the Web is going to become an app and a new kind of industry. Consumers are going to expect the way they interact with a service is an app.

Will there be a revenue stream besides advertising? Pincus: I’m a big believer in the user-pay economy. Just as offline, ads will eventually be a small part of the overall Internet economy. Advertising [online] is only a $50 billion industry–smaller than the auto industry.

Pincus: We’re still far far away from being an Internet treasure. People can still imagine life without playing our games. Gordon: I don’t know, I was harvesting wheat at 6:15 this morning. Pincus: We have to make the daily grind have more meaning. It’s a big challenge.

Fighting the Scourge of Malvertising

Some 1.3 million malicious online ads are viewed every day, even on high-profile sites such as the New York Times and TechCrunch. This so-called malvertising–pop-up fake antivirus ads and seemingly standard ads that have malicious software code embedded in them in an attempt to steal data such as passwords or credit-card numbers–is often very difficult for Web publishers and ad networks, let alone consumers, to detect. Indeed, because these ads must be found manually, usually thanks to a user complaint, the average life of a malvertisement before it’s detected and taken down is more than seven days, according to the Web anti-malware service Dasient. That’s more than long enough to infect thousands of computers.

Including my wife’s PC a few months ago. That infection took more than a week to eradicate, and even then, the PC was never the same and she was forced to reinstall just about everything on it. So I have a personal interest in Dasient’s newest service, introduced this morning: what it claims is the first automated anti-malvertising service. It’s an addition, using some of the same technologies, to the 18-month-old startup’s anti-drive-by malware service. Some background from Dasient’s release:

Malicious advertising, also referred to as “malvertising,” is a relatively new attack vector for cyber criminals that is quickly on the rise. With malvertising, fake malicious ads are delivered (often via advertising networks) to well-known websites as a way to reach millions of users at once on websites they normally trust. Unlike typical spam or virus attacks, which rely on victims to click on a link in an email or accidentally download an infected program, malvertising attacks are presented on popular websites and can download malicious code directly onto a user’s computer when the victim views the compromised ad. By infiltrating an entire ad network, the criminal gains access to a broad number of syndicated websites that can spread malicious code even further.

Dasient cofounders Ameet Ranadive and Neil Daswani told me that the reason malvertising is on the rise is twofold. For one, ad networks are becoming more efficient at syndicating ads to and from each other, instantaneously, so malvertisements can spread fast. For another, advertisers increasingly are hosting their own ads, and they often don’t have the technical expertise or staff to handle bad ads–which is why you’re twice as likely to get served a bad ad on a weekend, when the creators know IT staffing is light.

Although malvertising is hardly a secret, most efforts to prevent it have focused on education and prevention. Dasient works with ad networks and publishers to analyze each ad in real time, detect changes that may mean a bad ad has been substituted for a regular one, and provide forensic trails to trace the source of the ads.

Dasient, which was founded by former Googlers Daswani and Shariq Rizvi and former McKinsey consultant Ranadive in October 2008, has raised about $2 million from investors including former Verisign CEO Stratton Sclavos, Twitter investor Mike Maples Jr. of Maples Investments, and former 3Com CEO Eric Benhamou, now CEO of Benhamou Global Ventures.

What I’d Like to Happen in 2010 (But Probably Won’t)

I just foolishly offered some predictions on what will happen in tech and and on the Internet this year (and what won’t happen). Now, I’d like to offer a few things that I wish would happen:
* Cell phones provide decent call quality. I really don’t get folks who don’t have a landline, because cell call quality often sucks, and I simply refuse to inflict this on people I’m talking to if I don’t have to. I’m not the first to point out that cell phones have improved in every way except as phones, and I’m pretty sure I won’t be the last, especially as data-intensive apps hog more and more bandwidth.
* A cheap, fast, and simple way to get Internet video onto my TV. Yeah, I know there are many ways to do this, but somewhere along the line, they all seem to require some kluge to work. Sorry, life’s too short. Really, can it be so hard to come up with something that just works, like Tivo? (Come to think of it, maybe Tivo is it–just not the model I own today.)
* Apple gets the iPhone onto Verizon’s network. I know, unlikely at best. But I’d buy an iPhone right now if I didn’t have to deal with AT&T’s spotty network, at least in the Bay Area. Otherwise, I’ll stick with the Touch and cadge WiFi where I can get it.
* Someone figures out how to help individuals sift through the data deluge flooding us from Twitter, Facebook, news sites, YouTube videos, and who knows what-all. I sure wish, and whoever does this in a reasonably comprehensive way will have a heckuva business. But I’m not holding my breath.

What Won’t Happen on the Internet in 2010

Against my better judgment, I just posted a few predictions for the parts of tech and the Internet that I pay attention to. But maybe it’s just as important to note what won’t happen:
* Tablets won’t be the next big thing in client computing. Oh, Apple will create a lot of buzz over whatever it releases. But as my former colleague Steve Wildstrom notes, the key will be the user interface–specifically, user input. Like it or not, a keyboard is still key to doing (as opposed to watching) anything online. A virtual keyboard might work, and voice commands might work as a way to surf to the most-visited sites. But beyond typing 140 characters at a time, a real keyboard still seems mandatory. So does an easier way to upload video and communicate via voice and video in real-time. This is one reason the iPhone and other smartphones are so popular–you can take a photo or record video, send it, and then communicate about it all on the same device. I’m not sure how a tablet is going to do that elegantly–though if anyone can figure it out, it’s Apple.
* There won’t be as many tech IPOs as venture capitalists and startups are hoping. A lot of folks are predicting a significant number this year, and I don’t doubt there will be a noticeable improvement from the drought of recent years. But I’m skeptical that there will be enough to save the bacon of many startups and VCs. The economy’s too uncertain, and retail stock buyers don’t seem ready to step up for what they surely remember are very speculative investments. If I’m wrong about the number of IPO filings, it will be only because there will be too many offerings that people shouldn’t be buying anyway.
* In particular, Twitter won’t go public. Neither will Facebook (though I’m less sure about that). The thing is, both can afford to wait until the economy or the IPO outlook really turns around. There’s no reason for them to lead the way in an uncertain market and risk getting less than top dollar.
* Real-time won’t be a business, except for Ron Conway and betaworks. Oh, it’s important, but as I’ve said before, I think the appeal of most so-called real-time technologies and companies is the social aspect. In other words, the key thing is less real-time than real people.
* Online advertisers won’t escape a privacy backlash, because they’ve been careless about addressing people’s concerns. I think the real problem is poorly targeted advertising, since the right advertisement is likely to be overcome any sense of spookiness. If the ad scientists hadn’t gone all geeky and named targeting advertising “behavioral targeting,” and then often tried to hide what they’re doing, they would be in a much better position. “Personalized advertising,” fully disclosed, might have worked much better. But it’s probably too late for semantic tricks at this point–especially for lawmakers looking to make headlines. At the same time, this won’t tank online advertising, or even dent it much. Advertisers will find ways to get around any restrictions that are imposed, which will be so general as to be fairly meaningless.
* Google won’t get hit with a major antitrust lawsuit that so many have been predicting for years. It’s just tough to pin particularly egregious competitive behavior on the search giant–not yet, anyway. It also must have learned something from Justice’s slapdown on its aborted Yahoo deal. So while there will be some noise–perhaps around the Google Books agreement–Google may skate by. As it continues to vacuum up more online services, however, the US. or Europeans regulators will keep looking for a way to limit its power.

What Will Happen on the Internet in 2010

Predictions may be more useful for the writer than the reader. After all, if you’re as specific or as provocative as you should be, you’re going to be wrong at least half the time, and that’s not a very dependable percentage to prove your worthiness as a futurist. For me and other prognosticators, though, predictions are a useful way to ready ourselves for the coming year (OK, it’s already here)–to tell ourselves what to pay attention to and to provide a vantage point for assessing the many events and announcements to come.

So here’s my attempt to predict a bit of what’s going to happen in technology, mainly on the Internet–that is, the scattered parts of it I pay attention to. I’m also going to follow up with two separate but related posts: what won’t happen this year, and what I wish would happen but probably won’t.
* Merger mania will accelerate in technology. Valuations of private companies in particular seem low enough, but won’t be forever. And the industry’s leaders–Cisco, Google, Microsoft, HP, etc.–not only have the cash but have said they’re ready to spend it. Both sides know that cosmic convergence won’t last for long, so they’re ready to deal. I don’t know that multibillion-dollar deals will happen but I bet there will be many smaller deals.
* Branding will start to become more apparent in Internet advertising. That’s mostly because brands won’t be able to treat “digital,” as traditional ad types quaintly call it, as an add-on anymore. The Web is becoming the main event for too many consumers now. Plus, targeting technologies of all kinds, along with new ad formats, are starting to get good enough that brands can stomach using them. Not least, display ads, the chief vehicle for online brand advertising, will be a big focus for Google this year. While it’s not at all certain Google can master branded display ads, its efforts no doubt will move things forward.
* Google’s software efforts will finally establish it as more than a search company, making it apparent what this pony’s second trick is: Whether it’s because of Google Apps, Android, Chrome OS and the Chrome browser, or some new product, Google will be seen as the software company it really is. It will continue to be seen as a media company as well, but that’s only because software provided as a service on the Net is the new media. It’s just that few people realize this, least of all traditional media, to their everlasting detriment.
* Yahoo will surprise on the upside, thanks in part to that pickup in brand ad spending, which has always been Yahoo’s strength. Also, people may be underestimating CEO Carol Bartz’s ability to get Yahoo, which has more resources than its performance in recent years would indicate, back on track.
* Mobile applications will start to take off. Only start? For the masses, yes. I can assure you that even many of my tech-savvy friends in the Valley have no idea what Foursquare is. Plus, bandwidth limitations will only get worse, which could delay mass rollouts of data-intensive apps. But there’s a reason smartphones are exploding, and it’s not because they’re a computer in your pocket. They’re the Internet in your pocket.
* Twitter’s main business model will become more apparent–whatever it turns out to be. But it won’t knock everyone’s socks off–at least if it turns out to be mainly selling data feeds to other companies. I’m also not sure lead generation, e-commerce or even in-stream ads are killer businesses. None of that sounds like the next AdWords to me. I’m not privy to Twitter’s plans, but I have to think the ambitions of its founders and everyone around them require some new kind of advertising that’s just as fast and easy for advertisers as search ads.
* Facebook will keep growing, providing perhaps the first test of whether social media is a blockbuster business after all. Although I’ve been on Facebook a long time now, anecdotally it feels like my generation (let’s just say, not in our 20s and 30s, OK?) has just started embracing it bigtime. And that’s a lot of people. Eventually, and I think before long, Facebook’s scale could create fairly specific audiences that could rival the reach of television. That’s the Holy Grail. What I don’t know yet is if Facebook will be able to seize that opportunity.
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