Though FB provides a great platform for us to communicate within, it is still wholly founded on our data. To that end; whilst prepared to accept the irritation of advertising on my profile without being paid myself, and in lieu of that service; if I now receive increasing invitations to be a 'fan' of something I don't want, continued annoying application requests or even more intrusive advertising of any sort, I will quickly seek a new home.
The elegant advertising dollar relies on environments which can give advertisers originality, style and relevance. The Catch-22 for Facebook and indeed Twitter of course, is that they are trying to create that off the back of data which is not theirs, exists in a fast moving environment and is in reality pretty asinine in value. If I were a Celebrity or Brand, looking to maintain the cache I had worked so hard to achieve in tradtional media, then I'd also be dubious as to whether large numbers of so called 'fans' actually translated into sustainable eyeballs on an ongoing basis and wonder whether leading advertisers may actually feel their brands are compromised in such a viral and unsophisticated sea of opinion which is also awash with cheap unfettered advertising alongside which they will inevitably be compared.
Most successful businesses follow an 80/20 rule where 20% of the top Clients pay for the remaining 80% which earn very little. In Facebook and Twitter's case, (and largely because they, unlike Google, have possibly arrogantly tried to monetize after the fact), I believe secretly they've arrived at a place where that 20% revenue opportunity doesn't actually exist within their current platforms and never will because of the very nature of them.
That's just my opinion of course, but I fear that the excitement of seeing 200m people connecting in one place is clouding many smart people's subjective judgement. Sure the Ashton Kutcher race and Mark/ Evan wowing Oprah is all very fun, but who really cares. Certainly not those with the big cheque books who I think in my opinion would be wise to keep their distance for some time to come, just in case this is another 'emperor's new clothes' model we may come to refer to as sub-prime advertising one day!
For my part, I always want to build something I actually own & earn Bill Gates kind of money so I can give it all away again and shall therefore keep focusing on the 20% and leave the 80% to others.
I think these issues will be resolved of course but I predict some interesting and unexpected partnerships/ mergers/ takeovers pretty soon before the heavily commited VC's realise even hyped IPO's won't deliver much return; as well as knowing of course, some new pretenders will arrive & steal everyone's thunder again!
In Facebook's case their smartest move is in my view not even within their own platform, but more about that another time!