Photo: milkmit/Dylan Love
After spending yesterday selling itself to Wall Street investors, Facebook is set to begin trading on the NASDAQ next Friday.How will Facebook change for you, the user, once its a public company?
Based on some of the company’s recent history, industry trends, and Mark Zuckerberg’s speeches, we think we have a pretty good idea.
In 2009, Facebook showed 3 ads per page. In 2010, 4. Last year, that number went to 7. That number will only go up, especially with quarterly revenue pressure.
Facebook is still experimenting with what an ad on its site should look like.
The most effective unit it offers is the sponsored story, which feature your friends. These ads are much more memorable, and Facebook can charge a lot more for them.
You know how you see Google ads on Web sites for other companies?
That's a multi-billion dollar business for Google, and lots of people think Facebook will do the same thing.
You know how Spotify automatically announces every song you've listened to all your Facebook friends? The trend is for more of that. The plan is for every TV show you watch, restaurant you eat at, almost every non-embarrassing thing you do to be shared with your Facebook friends.
One of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's goals is for your Facebook ID to be your ID everywhere online.
If that were to happen, the easiest way for Facebook to make money would be to facilitate online transactions.
Companies like Apple, Microsoft, Google, eBay, and Amazon are also pursuing this vision.
Mobile Internet usage is soon going to overtake desktop Web usage. And right now, Facebook depends on other companies -- Google and Apple, mostly -- to get access to mobile Internet usage.
One company that wants to help Facebook build its phone is Microsoft. It wants to do this for one big reason: it wants adoption amongst mobile users so it can offer a credit card alternative.
This payment system could be co-branded with Facebook.
Ticketmaster has this cool Facebook integration where shoppers can share the news of their ticket purchases with friends.
Every time those friends see that news and click on the link on Facebook.com, that click is worth $6 in revenue for Ticketmaster.
Expect more businesses -- especially 'social' ones -- to ask customers to share their purchases on Facebook.
Former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya left the company to start a venture capital firm with a single mission: fund companies that will leverage volunteered Facebook user data to take over large, calcified industries like banking, education, and healthcare.
Palihapitiya is funding a banking startup, for example, that will give potential customers a credit score based on their Facebook activity.
Now that just about everybody uses Facebook, the company will be very serious about making sure everyone stays engaged.
That means Facebook won't wait for you to come to its app or check its Website. The company will figure out ways to 'push' notifications to you -- on your computer, your iPad, your phone, and maybe even on your TV.
Facebook swears it is going to remain free, and we believe them. Why? Because as soon as Facebook starts charging, it'll lose many of its users and open the door to free competition. Charging would destroy the company's value and userbase.