Very few people including Mr. Zuckerberg, we believe ever imagined that Facebook would become such a sensation. But it has, and, this is just the beginning.
What Facebook Is
As we have said before, Facebook is a threat to every other major player on the Internet, such as Google, Apple and Microsoft. It is a service that is slowly providing all the services the other competitors provide. But that is not the most critical thing. It has successfully provided one service that no one can compete in superior numbers with. It has provided effective socialization tools.
There is no question that many people run their entire lives on Facebook. They meet their friends there, they make plans through it, they announce weddings, births through it, they conduct detailed scientific and academic discussions through it, they conduct social campaigns through it, broadcast news that can liberate nations through it and, they play games through it.
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As you can see from this chart #1, MSN and Yahoo have been the losers in market share to Facebook and Google. In Chart #2, one can see the almost exponential growth of Facebook to the latest figure we have (about 640 million members). In chart #3, we see a very dangerous trend for Google, as Facebook surpasses it in the number of visits done to the sites. Where the visitors go the most, there will be the greatest advertising dollars and efforts. As we have said before this trend undercuts Google's core business.
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The Facebook Mega Bank And Virtual Goods
What is a virtual good you might ask? Well there are many examples. The most famous one being Farmville tokens purchased on Facebook. Some may laugh at this seemingly silly little game on Facebook. But here are some facts on it that might change your mind. At least 15% of the users who log into Facebook every day play Farmville. Since October 2009 Farmville seems to be gaining about 10 million users every month. Farmville was predicted to surpass 80 million users in 2010. Zynga the company that created the game, donated $1 million dollars to the Haiti Earthquake relief effort from the purchase of virtual goods in Facebook. Last Valentines Day (actually 2010), $220 million dollars of Valentines Day Gifts were sent in 18 hours. If you are one of the few people on Earth that do not know about Farmville or the basics of its purpose, here is a video that explains the basics: http://youtu.be/EXvmFLJuY2A.
The Facebook Marketplace which since 2007 has been run by Oodle, will propel Facebook towards a banking direction, because of one extremely important principle - that people would rather buy something from someone they know than from a stranger. This is the limitation of eBay and other selling environments. In eBay the friendship is made AFTER the first sale at least, in Facebook the social network producing trust is already there. Once this principle is fully understood by eBay and others, it will be too late for them. Facebook will have an insurmountable advantage. There is no doubt in our mind, that at some point, Facebook will allow some soft of "currency" to be used for sales and purchases in the marketplace. If you do not understand how Facebook Marketplace works, watch this video. Here is the link for those who cannot see the embedded YouTube movie: http://youtu.be/hvCKrwZ_ZC8.
You might ask how much growth is predicted in the sale and use of virtual goods? How about $100 billion by 2012? Watch this video to give you an idea of the explosive growth predicted. Trip Hawkins, CEO of Digital Chocolate, explains his vision of what will come to pass with virtual goods. If you cannot see the embedded video here is the link: http://youtu.be/OuPwVT3UAf0.