Analyst: Facebook “Going To Disappear” In “Five To Eight Years” [VIDEO]June 6, 2012 10:57 am ·
Despite the promise of greater iPhone integration and rumors of a coming Facebook browser, at least one analyst isn’t quite convinced that the social network is heading in a sustainable direction. In fact, he gives the site eight years tops before it completely disappears. Appearing as a guest on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” earlier this week, financial analyst and Ironfire Capital founder Eric Jackson predicted Facebook’s coming demise.
“In five to eight years [Facebook is] going to disappear in the way that Yahoo has disappeared,” Jackson predicted during the phone interview. “Yahoo is still making money; it’s still profitable, still has 13,000 employees working for it, but it’s 10 percent of the value that it was at the height of 2000. For all intents and purposes, it’s disappeared.”
Watch the interview in the video below, courtesy of CNBC:
Jackson suggests that Facebook is simply a part of the social network generation that followed the decline of “Web 1.0” generation sites like Yahoo. In fact, he argues that web companies can be broken down into three generations. With the Yahoo era representing the first generation and social sites like Facebook representing the second, the next generation is companies that focus exclusively on capitalizing on mobile.
And Jackson isn’t so sure Facebook has what it takes.
“When you look over these three generations, no matter how successful you are in one generation, you don’t seem to be able to translate that into success in the second generation, no matter how much money you have in the bank, no matter how many smart PhDs you have working for you,” he argued. “Look at how Google has struggled moving into social, and I think Facebook is going to have the same kind of challenges moving into mobile.”
By Facebook’s own admission, mobile isn’t its strongest suit—especially when it comes to monetization. Last month, the social network admitted that the mass migration of its users to mobile “may negatively affect…revenue and financial results.” Such negative effects are foreseen even in light of the continued growth in Facebook’s membership, which now rests in the 900 million member range—and poses yet another dilemma since the social site went public last month.
In other words, even as membership grows and people access Facebook more frequently thanks to mobile devices, the absence of a real long-term revenue source (especially in mobile) threatens to send Facebook the way of its Web 1.0 forefathers.
Calling Facebook a “big, fat website,” Jackson suggests that even though it “can buy a bunch of mobile companies,” it will do little to lift Facebook out of the social networking generation. While he doesn’t think the site will fade into bankruptcy, the analyst does believe it’s just a matter of time before “something new is going to come along that we haven’t seen yet.” And when it does, Jackson says, “people are going to be fascinated by it and attracted to it.”
So, is the demise of the Facebook generation inevitable? If so, what will replace it in the upcoming mobile generation? If not, what can Facebook do to make its mobile experience into the growth machine that Wall Street demands?
Share your take in the comments below.