Facebook Passes 200 Million Users, Still Looking for Revenue
Facebook now has 200 million users, giving the social-networking site a "population" bigger than Russia. However, the company still remains focused on growth as opposed to revenue, even as social-networking sites such as Twitter and YouTube look for ways to more effectively monetize their relationships with their users.Facebook now has 200 million users, giving the social-networking site a "population" even larger than nations such as Russia.
"Growing rapidly to 200 million users is a really good start," Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, wrote in an April 8 corporate blog posting, "but we've always known that in order for Facebook to help people represent everything that is happening in their world, everyone needs to have a voice."
AdAge attributes at least some of YouTube's U.S. gains to content agreements with Disney, CBS and other companies, which provide extra leverage with advertisers. Within a business context, Facebook's 200 million users could be gauged not by how well the site engages users, but whether such a massive number foretells the future generation of proportionally massive revenue. "Obviously the popularity of social networking as a concept and the primary means by which the younger generation is communicating is not at issue," John Byrne, an analyst at TBRI, said in an interview. "The issue is how that trend can be monetized." "Two hundred million is indeed a large number," Byrne added, "but 200 million [multiplied by] pennies per customer in an online advertising revenue still [equals] not much revenue." Google CEO Eric Schmidt once said, with regard to YouTube, that the "holy grail" of a perfect advertising model hadn't been discovered yet. Still, companies such as Facebook and Twitter continue to experiment with techniques to generate even more significant revenue streams, using their ever-increasing number of users as a test bed. Even with all their efforts, according to Byrne, "that code has not been cracked yet."