Thursday, January 8, 2009

From the Desk of Chris Cunningham

Received the following from Chris Cunningham @ Appsavvy, via email. Chris is a smart guy who's championed portable media like widgets and apps as long as anybody. He's got a well thought out, informed POV and his gut predictions are based on as much experience as anyone.

However, I take issue with his treatment of Facebook as an already proved out business success. True, Facebook has gotten a ton of usage from people but I don't see a business model that justifies the valuation. If Facebook had to spend less money than they made what would they do, what's the path to that look like? Are small, out of the way, ads with tiny CTR's valuable enough to support all those genius developers when the VC runs dry?

The fact that he suggests the iPhone, a sickly profitable business, might "grow" into a Facebook "killer" scored a 10 on the Greg March, What the Fuck??? O-meter. (TM)

Not to take a shot at Chris. In fact, I think Chris's model might be more sustainable, can be managed off of lower cost, and if his apps create real value for people (big IF), these apps might be able to sustain larger, more impactful and disruptive advertising solutions. Just stop selling shitty, tiny banner that my eyeball is trained to ignore.

Chris's comments cover alot more than that, and worth the read, they are in green, so maybe you think of money and throw the guy some business, enjoy:

Thus far, we’ve seen the creation of tens of thousands social media applications for Facebook and while less so, other social networks, including MySpace, hi5, among others. The next step and a trend we’ve seen in the second half of 2008 is the maturation of the space. Not only are developers and publishers focused on utility of applications, so are Internet users. Right now, there is a strong move from quantity to quality applications. I believe the biggest reason for this evolution is the creation of a new advertising vehicle for advertisers, thus an opportunity to monetize developer and publishers creations, while providing valuable content, entertainment, community and more.

Let me share with you some of the trends we’re seeing as we approach 2009 and beyond:

1) Social media applications truly becoming communities and evolving into portable Web platforms

2) I’m also very bullish on the standardization of consistent metrics and measurement of social networking channels in the New Year. I’m most optimistic about metrics outside of CTR (Click Through Rate), such as time spent, usage and more....

3) Social networking sites exceeding expectations as it relates to user adoption, traffic and page views. I also see social networking destinations evolving their thinking as it relates to the developer community. Expect further cooperation and – gasp – data sharing and more.

4) From an overall Internet industry perspective, Facebook and its momentum will be to Google, what Google was to Microsoft a few years ago. Facebook is doing a tremendous job of building mindshare and not only competing, but beginning to lead in the core platforms of the Internet: communications and dare I say it, increasingly so in search, but in a different way. Through social networks, the Internet becomes less about searching and more about bringing all of your interests together.

6) Outside of Facebook, I’m encouraged by MySpace, recently Yahoo! and LinkedIn’s efforts in the application space. To an extent, the other social networks have missed at least the first inning or two of the game and need to take a close look at the success of Facebook and put the resources and energy behind the application opportunity. That being said and all, they shouldn’t do it because Facebook did. They should leverage applications by implementing plans around the unique nature of each platform. Each social network outside of Facebook, needs to figure out how their consumers could benefit from applications, what will the engagement look like and how they will see an application ecosystem within their platform.

7) Moving on, the expectation has been that MySpace will drive the application space forward as the #2 player, but that won’t be the case in 2009. Apple and the iPhone get that nod from me. Reports in December that more than 300 million applications have been downloaded from the Apple’s App Store demonstrates the iPhone’s opportunity and ability to take mobile to a whole new level. If iPhone applications become more social, which they will (we’re already seeing it in plans with developer partners, including five of the top 15 applications, and advertisers), the iPhone may not just make mobile a true platform for marketers, but the platform could become a Facebook killer. Talk about a place where all of your friends are currently.

8) Lastly, I’ll make this 140 character prediction: Twitter is a great tool. Look at the prez election & Mumbai attacks. However, It's not a business. Facebook’s Status will overrun it in '09.
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