Facebook Fanboy panel: Pro vs Con – Michael Arrington TechCrunch (moderator), Robert Scoble Podtech.net, Jason Calacanis Mahalo, Rodney Rumford FaceReviews.com, Dave McClure 500 Hats
Mike: are we supposed to be talking about issues, or just topics and there are two of you that are pro facebook, and two con.. seriously, what are we talking about?
Mike: I think it’s more subtle than that
Dave: how about starting with monetization?
Mike: let’s just go with my notes
who doesn’t go to facebook at least once a day? why?
tantek: too many friend requests
audience member: email works better (Mike asks, and how old are you? he says he’s 87, but joking, does look over 50)
mike: anyone under 30 not log in every day? just like paper newspapers… there are two interesting stories this year, iphone and facebook. anyone not agree?
jason: yes, all the facebook developers agree
dave: four months ago i didn’t know I would run a facebook conference
robert: four months ago I didn’t have a friend on facebook and now I have 4k
Mike: advertising & monetization
dave: currently they (Facebook and facebook aps) monetize like crap.
Jason: google is a perfect way to make money, but not fun. facebook is fun but not a good way to make money.
dave: not if I see my friends have a pair of cool new nikes, and I want a pair
jason: they’ve been talking about this for a long time with amazon, and it hasn’t happened
robert: but what if you click on skiing, you see everyone, they can concentrate on capturing intent, and do advertising based on intent, but we haven’t seen it yet.
I can’t keep up. I can’t keep up! BTW, my injections are all in italics
dave: suggests identifying the influencers then advertising to them, instead of advertising across the platform.
Mike: let me throw in some facts. google is clearly moving into SNs, we broke the story. they have most profitable advertising business in the world. clearly they are moving into SNs. we have to pay attention to that. we did once before, it was called orkut and it turned out to be irrelevant
younger folks are the trend leaders, and hot or not brought in keywords and a brand to represent you. your profile is made of brands. that shows some data on where trends are going, a way to monetize.
Robert: what if there was a facebook hotel in Las Vegas? there are 10 single folks in the hotel, it plays your music?
Jason: myspace has done a good job of it (monetizing), like with barat. it will make money, but not proctor and gamble level money. you won’t make shampoo your friend. it’s nowhere like the level of search.
Dave: points out influencers – sneezers— are key. Rockyou maps the network of cool via topfriends.
Audience: you have descried how facebook users could monetize themselves
Jason: the top flickr users make nothing, and now the meme is maybe the top people shoudl make money. get paid. systems will have to figure out how to compensate them or they will leave and make their own.
Mike: change topic. black hat stuff. facebook changed, rule around who you can spam, how you can show your profile to users and friends. The people who misbehaved were rewarded by not losing their users. they had a built in advantage no one could catch up.
Rodney: it’s business, doesn’t matter if it’s fair, some aps didn’t take advantage and didn’t leverage all the tools.
robert: the aps who played right didn’t do as well, we don’t hear about them?
rodney, no they didn’t do as well.
dave: points out later installs go to the bottom. a clean up ap that removes/lowers less used ap would help.
Mike: but was it right that rockyou and slide didn’t get penalized? If they don’t, won’t everyone want to game the system?
jason: if you build your business in facebook, you are not in charge of yoru business. they are acting nice, but they haven’t said we’re an open platform and you can control your users. I recall AOl and the information providers got screwed when the rules changed. When facebook goes public, they’ll have a financial obligation to shareholders to play hard. Myspace stayed closed because they were winning, facebook opened because they were losing. that doesn’t make facebook a bad company, it makes them smart. If you build your company on facebook, you are an idiot.
Dave: ebay example. I hope yahoo, google, et al does well because they’ll keep facebook honest. I hope incumbents don’t throw their weight around.
robert: the platform allowed it. those are the playing rules.
Mike: I consider that Questions (the ap) setting you up as having asked a question when you didn’t is bad behavior, and should be punished.
dave: in the search world if you are a black hat, I don’t mind that, if google resets the algorithm and re-levels the field.
Q: what if the open web platform shows up with openid, FOAF and rss, and like aol lost to the web…
Jason: AOL “lost” but they still make more money than facebook.
Dave: open is not better, better is better.
jason: why do developers put up with facebook setting the rules? Why don’t you go on strike and say give me my users?
Mike: game theory says that bonding together is not psychologically possible
robert: how many people are still using the pirate ap? the next gen of aps will unseat the top aps.
Jason: you are all working for free to make facebook millions of dollars? talk about the ultimate pyramid scheme?
dave: i think it’s interesting that rockyou and slide were kicking ass on myspace
mike: kicking ass how? revenue
dave, well not so much, installs
jason: half-mil valuation on widgets is crazy
mike and dave argue about who mixed up revenue and valuation
jason: but facebooks valuation went up 15M
mike asks lee is facebook really worth 100B, less says yes, mike demands mike be removed. “that’s what fucked up the party for us in 2000”
lee points out valuation is based on buyer and seller, and zuckerberg refused 1B, 15B, and so….
Jason: I want to say mahalo is worth (drowned out by laughter)
dave: i dont’ agree with lee, my number is more like 10-15B
mik: where does that number come from?
robert: thinks 5B
Mike: Where do you get these numbers? At least Lee pretends there is some math involved
rodney: but it has engagement, it has emotional engagement and there has to be a way to monetize it.
dave: if they acquired a search engine, or if they acquired a checkout, or a contextual advertising platform, both of which I think likely… should they be valued on what they have or where they are going?
Audience points out it’s a cheap way to get users. why not?
Audience: no one has as much insight into this community than you
whole panel says thank you
you don’t think eric smchmitt or ballmer would pay 15B for it?
mike: probably yes. but the reason would be to keep it out of the hands of the competitor.
robert: ballmer didn’t buy flickr when I told him to…
later… mike dares dave to say something bad about facebook
dave: too slow, not transparent enough,
robert: they don’t let me add more than 5K people
mike you’re just silly
mike: keep going
now telling the story about the fbFund, where they solicited applications and the lawyers said delete everything and resend saying they have no rights or else people could sue.
robert: they are going to turn evil like microsoft, they are going to see an ap they like and they are goign to buy, copy, whatever. but if you build like a starfish, and have only one tendon into facebook and hte rest elsewhere, beebo, etc.
Mike: what’s the second best platform after facebook?
Dave: SEo is the second best platform after facebook