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The Long View: Facebook Made Clear.

32000 feet

This post begins a series of reports planned on a 32,000 foot view of all media.  The Long View is our high level analysis of media today.  We’ll start with the social network that has received the most recent buzz.  Far too many reports in general media asked the question “what does Facebook sell?”  There are those more informed and more capable of determining the value of the initial public offering for the social network.  However we’ll take a stab at the easy question.

The news director that still beats inside me was annoyed by journalists who pose the question in their reports rather than avail themselves of published information to answer queries regarding what Facebook sells.  So the “Long View” comes down to earth to consider a few of the reports answering the question.  The most obvious place to start is with the Securities and Exchange Commission.  A complete prospectus was filed by the eight year old new media giant following the IPO.  The filing clearly points out what is offered for sale in its first pages with a graphic containing these claims - “901 million active users, 3.2 billion likes and comments per day, 300 million photos uploaded per day, and 125 billion friendships.”  That’s what Facebook is selling by the company’s own report.

And the prospectus offers another graphic to visually explain the mission of the now $100 billion dollar company is “to make the world more open and connected.”


In a Planet Money segment on NPR’s All Things Considered the question was asked “Is Facebook Worth $100 Billion?  The blog post from Planet Money’s Zoe Chace and Steve Henn offers another characterization of what Facebook is sells.

Chace and Henn point out the Menlo Park, California company sells data (age, marital status, gender, education, location) about it’s almost one billion users and they’re working overtime to determine how to sell stuff to their database.  In a posting on TechCrunch marketing executive Alexander Haislip insists Silicon Valley can do better than Facebook.  Haislip complains “Facebook sells advertising…but that’s not the best use of the brightest minds of our generation.”

Social media and email marketing firm Constant Contact and marketing research company Chadwick Martin Bailey  teamed up to study how consumers use Facebook and interact with advertisers.  Here’s a presentation on their research.

And if all of this is too much to consume Mashable offers “Facebook Users: 13 Ways the IPO Could Affect You.  Mashable’s reason number four is users will see more ads.  The Nieman Journalism Lab in their weekly review points to last week’s post “Red Flags before Facebook’s IPO.”  The report ends with the Associated Press and CNBC poll findings of Facebook user distrust and apathy.  The poll was published just days before Mark Zuckerberg rang the Nasdaq opening bell from Menlo Park marking the official move toward selling almost a billion friends pictures, videos, interests and likes.  You can read testimonials to Facebook’s mission on the NASDAQ website.

James Rowe