We’ve all come to love, mostly, social media. The first kid on the block, MySpace disappeared when Rupert tried to make back his then astonishing $580M purchase price, in a single day. The the upstart Facebook migrated from the domain of US college students to anyone with an email address, or 10. Blogging had been around and popular but was a siloed activity with feedback and comment coming only after an audience had been built. Then came Twitter’s micro blogging which we didn’t even know we needed until we couldn’t finish or start every breathe without telling our followers about the breathe we were about to, or had just taken.
Follow the money!
Rupert lost his cash on MySpace and even though it’s been reinvented, rebranded and relaunched, it’s a ghost town.
The most anticipated IPO of the past decade was Facebook. It heralded a return to the days when millionaires, even billionaires could be made overnight; if your were an advisor or merchant banker on the inside of the deal. Facebook stock has recovered half of what it lost since Zuckerberg asked his long time girl friend to marry him but it’s nowhere near its opening bell price. And with a revenue strategy that is as revolutionary as airships don’t expect it to recover. Ever. Hindenburg. It might be a great platform for companies selling their wares but it’s getting old and tired very quickly. With no new money coming and no longer being the cool kid at the party Facebook is becoming the slightly out of date uncle that is trying to be king of the kids. In reality, Facebook is fast becoming everything Mark hated about himself which was the catalyst for creating The Facebook. Circle of life, much?
Twitter hasn’t listed but must at some time. Soon. A couple of years back they took a $300M investment from a Saudi prince and gave him, I shit you not, a mere 3.75% of the company. This deal instantly valued Twitter, which had made not a single dollar, at $8,000,000,000. Look at all those zeros. Eight. Billion. Dollars!
Google+. Stop laughing. This is Google’s second or third attempt at a social platform. I’m a big fan and have a bad poker face. I love this platform and am not quite sure why. I think it’s because I can have long conversations with people I don’t know but share an interest. This makes it very different to Facebook (can only talk to friends and lets be honest, how interesting are they – no offense friends who read this) and Twitter (where pithy takes on a whole new meaning somewhere between art form and cryptography – that’s code breaking, dummy).
There’s one more thing that Google+ has over both Facebook and Twitter; bucket loads of money. Plus patience. Google is more than happy to play the waiting game. They invented the waiting game. They also invented the ‘oh, that looks fun, let’s buy that company’ game. They play both very well and win frequently.
Polish your crystal ball and look into the future. Facebook falls over because revenues remain stagnant, investors pull out and the company is purchased for pennies on the dollar by Rupert. Then it dies. Twitter continues on its trajectory of being an easier platform for spammers and with no revenue model is purchased by Rupert. Then it dies.
Google has a history of giving things away and then turning the taps off when they feel the time is right.
There are some notable exceptions like Gmail but in reality it is the perfect entry point for all of Google’s other services not to mention the constant visitors for AdWords advertisers. And lest us not forget the massive data mining exercise that Google embarks upon with every email sent and received through their ‘free email’ service. There are also add ons to the service like data storage for people who really need to keep every email they’ve ever received (ie are too lazy to cull their old emails).
Recently they turned off their free Google Apps service. This service is for SMEs and provides a host of brilliant collaboration platforms like Gmail, Docs, Messaging and easy management of all those services. Plus there are a host of third party widgets that can be installed to enhance your business operations.
If you already have an account you can add domains to your free account but you can’t create a new free account. Kills me that I merged all my free accounts into one master account about a year ago. Ho hum…. still, glad I have that one free account. New members will need to pay $5 per user per month. That’s $60 per employee per year. And that’s what I reakon they will do with Google+ sometime in the future when Facebook has been sold to Rupert.