The REAL Reason Why Facebook Isn't Building An Ad Network

Sheryl Sandberg

Photo: Jurvetson

Between all the info Facebook has on its users and the “Like” and sign-in buttons it has all over the web, it’s assumed that it’s only a matter of time before Facebook comes out with an ad network. And it probably is.

But it’s not coming any time soon. That’s what Facebook always said, but there wasn’t a reason to take that at face value. Now there is: in an interview with Reuters, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg says it’s because “we have a lot of growth in our inventory, in our pages.”

And it makes sense. Facebook is still growing at a pace where it’s creating more pageviews than it can fill with ads. Demand from advertisers for Facebook ads is big and growing–but so is Facebook.com. Just filling that is enough work–and enough top and bottomline growth–that building an ad network just doesn’t make sense at this point. 

It’s also another arrow in the quiver for the Facebook bulls. The case for Facebook being worth $80 billion — and $1 trillion in a few years — is that there are so many business lines it hasn’t explored yet that would be huge moneymakers. An ad network is one of them. 

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