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May 3 2010

facebook google and twitter finding themselves

Written by / Posted in million bucks or nothing idea / 47 Comments

In the survey I just sent out about this years thinktank, I tried made a comment that has gotten me a quite a few responses.

Facebook is the new Google, Twitter is the new facebook, and Google is trying to become twitter.

For my core readers, I am sure the self evidence of this is obvious without explanation.

Facebook’s annual revenue as far as I know is not public, but it is way up there. I have buddies who are trying to spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars a day, who still have trouble getting facebooks attention. I know I spend a small fortune on facebook each week, and the impressions just keep flying across the screen.

Here is my math, not based on any inside facebook data, but simply using a little known info and logic.

Lets assume facebook has 400 million users.

Let’s assume each user sees 4 screens per day on average. (Think it actually is much higher, but some people never go on at all)

That is 1.6 billion impressions.

If we assume that it costs about .0002 dollars per impression, my estimation, which is 2/100 of a penny per impression.

Then we have about $320,000 per day in income.

If you multiply that by 365 days per year, you end up with over 100 million in revenue per year.

(Double check my math above and I will correct it if I am off)

I actually think my estimates above are way on the conservative side, and bet it is much closer to a billion.

I’ve known half a dozen billionaires over my lifetime, so that is not unbelievable, but the fact that that is generating that

in cash every year, is enough to get even googles ears pricking up, even if they are making 20X more.

Facebook is now going off of the blue and white page, and into a website near you. If you look at the top of Shoemoney’s posts,

you will see the new like button. This can only end up to some type of cumulative suggestion to you of what sites you will be interested in, in each industry or search category, eventually making facebook a true human search engine. I expect we will see that in two or three years, or maybe next month?

Since facebook confiscated the moving stream of twitter, twitter is adding more and more social interactivity between users. You can now easily retweet with a button, and if you hold your cursor over someones user name on twitter, you get a little box of social information about that person. I have a feeling that little box is going to grow and grow, and eventually contain the obvious thing we all want to know. Do they follow me?

Google on the other hand, watching these young upstarts moving in on their turf, is picking up some of their tips. The most obvious of which is googles desire to be fresh. Shoemoney recently poked fun of my not so fresh looking chiropractic page, and how it still ranks number one. Google is at an interesting crossroads where it is trying to give us the most relevant info, yet at the same time, their site is coming to life with change. I consider myself a pretty early adopter of new technology, and I find myself messing with the options on the left side of the screen in google, modifying how they show my results, twitter like, or google like.

In a few years I expect the three of them, along with a whole new slew of competitors, many of which will be running on the same engines, but just with different branding, will all do basically the same thing. They will keep us in touch with each other and the world, and help us find what we want.

I love the fact that is so dam complicated with so many different options and strategies, that it is now impossible to figure out THE right way do make money with it. It reminds me of surfing. One of the reasons I love it so much is that not only are you busting the moves you want on the playing field, but the playing field is constantly changing under your feet.

Welcome to real internet surfing. Not only are you making and implementing strategies, but at the same time, the very fabric that you are working with, is changing under your very hands. There is going to be great reward for those of us with flexible minds. 🙂

  1. Slaurain said on May 3rd, 2010 at 7:15 am

    You have some very interesting thoughts here. I remember when I joined facebook in 2004. I really thought it was just a passing college fad. Fast forward 6 years, and I use it every day. I am a pastor, and so I use it to keep in contact with kids and their families. I also work as a band teacher, and so I use it to pass on vital information for class.

    Every passing day I am seeing a greater potential in terms of advertising and marketing. I am beginning to recommend stories to other people. I am looking forward to seeing where these three websites will go!

  2. Layne said on May 3rd, 2010 at 7:27 am

    That’s alot of money, very interesting :).

  3. prasoonv said on May 3rd, 2010 at 11:59 am

    This is bound to happen as we move towards a net centric economy. Lines between different websites and companies will get fainter day by day. Each one will look more like the other. Each one will try to have a share or the pie. Users and companies are discovering new ways of increasing revenue, and as the day progresses companies will morph themselves into replicas of each other more and more.

  4. PMac3000 said on May 3rd, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    Thanks for the info. Your blog filled me in on lots of things I never thought about.That is a ton of money! I also like that you poked fun a Stalkbook. Honestly that is my least favorite thing about it. I am so sick of feeling like everyone is in my business.

  5. Dasdream said on May 3rd, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    Im confused about Twitter. How can they be one of the top networking sites yet not make any kind of profit?

  6. Spencer said on May 3rd, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    You have some interesting ideas, but I can’t believe that Facebook, Twitter, and Google will all be so similar in the coming years. All three were originally created for significantly different purposes. Now, sure, they are blending a bit, but they are also all three striving to expand and create new tools to use on each site. Unless two of the companies happen to merge, I still see them serving their own unique purposes in the coming years, probably even more than they do today.

  7. Syntheticelegance said on May 3rd, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    I agree I also thought it was just a passing college fad. I do not have a facebook, but whenever I see my fiance log into his accounts, I see some very interesting advertisement that has caught my attention every now and then.

  8. Kevin said on May 3rd, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    Google is going to be GONE in the next few years. Whenever people can Instant Message on a site that also allows them to have an identity, they go nuts for it. If Google wants a shot, they need to allow a profile and need to start some sort of network.

  9. Reina said on May 3rd, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    This is very interesting. I know that facebook made a lot of money, but never thought that much. Also, you make a good point about some of them changing. Facebook is constantly changing as well with google(sometimes). I don’t really use twitter so I don’t really know too much about that.

  10. cadamisa said on May 3rd, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    Potentials are truly huge…but I think to capitalize on that is not so straight forward. What is the total amount that all advertisers are ready to spend? Doesn’t matter how many pages you have, the problem is not in generating them but in getting advertisers for it. Try running a forum if you know what I mean.

  11. LoveYouGirl said on May 3rd, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    Like someone said before, I remember when I first joined facebook as a Freshman in college. Back then the idea was to be exclusive to college students wanting to hook up and stay in touch with old High School friends. Now its open to everyone. The money certainly is appealing, but their service has declined dramatically. Just this morning, a close friend had their profile unavailable due to maintanence issues, I can understand them having a widespread issue and having the site down as a whole, but if individual users are suffering…then I can’t imagine advertisers being very profitable.

  12. zombie kid said on May 3rd, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    thats so much money!

  13. Wise Chimp said on May 3rd, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    I think this is a case of the Emperor’s new clothes. Google got in first with web advertising and have proven technology in place to exploit it. Also as first in they are seen, rightly or otherwise as the experts and people/companies with little technical knowledge use their Ad Words program. By contrast the same groups view Facebook and Twitter with distrust because of numerous cases of misuse which pop up in the media. I think most projections on ad income on Facebook are overstated, I know lots of Facebook users and none of them ever click on the ads, in fact many Gen Yers are so used to ads on websites that they naturally filter them out. Twitter’s not profitable and Facebook is probably in the same boat, certainly they’re not very open about their figures, in a recent press release revenue was forecast as being 1.2 to 2 billion, quite a difference between the 2!

  14. brittanywood said on May 3rd, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    That is very interesting, I never would think that a social networking site could produce so much revenue. This would make me believe that advertising could be very profitable.

  15. ArlFish said on May 3rd, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    Those are some crazy statistics! I just don’t understand why other sites want to become more like another site. Why is Facebook conforming to the looks of Twitter etc?

  16. Dudeman2 said on May 3rd, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    Dude, Facebook is the bomb. I use it everyday, usually three or four times a day, and I’m in my 30s! I don’t really like Twitter though–it just seems kinda sillly to send out these little random snippets. That’s for the “no attention span” generation. I love putting up interesting articles on FB and cahtting with friends. I even use it for email!

  17. Markus said on May 3rd, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    Man thats crazy. Great job here.

  18. pdizzle said on May 4th, 2010 at 12:27 am

    one word….war. This is war. IT is a war for people’s attention, it is a war for people’s thoughts, it is a war for people’s money, but more importantly, it is war for information. It is a war for traffic. why? because more traffic = mo money, mo money, money!!!

  19. jennyroq826 said on May 4th, 2010 at 10:11 am

    Wow! I never really thought about how much FB makes on a faily basis.

  20. Jbscribbs said on May 4th, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    I just can’t wait until the next thing comes out…

  21. danisolprojects said on May 4th, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    Nice touch at the end of the article…. You did come up with some good points, the internet is constantly changing especially social networks…. let’s not forget myspace, I don’t know if there was something before that, but I do remember that was one of the first social networks I was ever on. I didn’t use facebook often, it required you when it first started to have a school email address… that was the only part I didn’t like at first & look at it now…. great blog!

  22. hncdbc1021 said on May 4th, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    I never could catch the twitter bug. I just wasn’t crazy about it. Facebook on the other hand, I can’t stay away from. Facebook is the easiest place to burn a few hours. I can see how they make so much money in advertising, everyone that I know spends a lot of time on that site, probably more than any other.

  23. Stevules said on May 10th, 2010 at 12:12 am

    I pretty much saw it coming. It seems websites come and go, kind of morphing into one another until the more successful one buys the other out.

  24. Jeff C said on May 10th, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    Hah! So true. There is only so much social networking can be, and if the sites become all of it, they will all be the same. Just the focus will change between sites (i.e. the message box for twitter and facebook).

  25. babysweetzoe said on May 11th, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    I am so far behind the times. I have a facebook account but until last week, had no idea what twitter was. thanks for all of the information.

  26. ferrellchick said on May 11th, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    You have to be so careful with these sites. Facebook apps alone steal your personal information.

  27. Mikel said on May 12th, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    That’s sick how much money facebook is pulling in? And how did myspace fall flat on its face so quickly? This was a very informative article – thanks for posting.

  28. Gunnar Andreassen said on May 13th, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    Dude – WHERE do you get your stock photos? Pls email me…

  29. cassandra said on May 14th, 2010 at 10:10 am

    wow, it really takes more than i thought t o get people’s attention. Marketing is almost out of contol

  30. tlc58 said on May 14th, 2010 at 11:49 am

    Just another example of the rapidly changing dynamics of the web and the world.

  31. binaryrevolt said on May 15th, 2010 at 8:04 am

    how very interesting! marketing on the web is an ever changing dynamic and will only continue to surprise us all!

  32. klompica said on May 16th, 2010 at 1:04 am

    Wow, lot of figures there. Good point, thou.

  33. Danielle said on May 17th, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    It isn’t hard to see how these sites are obtaining such high figures; I use all three to advertise my blog and to keep up with family, friends and of course select stars I choose to follow. Ultimately, even with Facebook doing as well as they are, I believe Twitter will run totals much higher. Twitter has a broader range of high profiled people than facebook does which will keep the social network flowing at a rapid pace. As for Google, they will continue to try and keep up but I can see them moving at a snail’s pace which could possibly be their downfall.

  34. Kait said on May 19th, 2010 at 2:18 am

    Google’s version of facebook/twitter isn’t that great. I don’t think it’s going to catch on. Which is weird because usually everything google does is the best.

  35. Jack997 said on June 10th, 2010 at 11:31 am

    Well, if Google has their way they’ll probably be looking to get a piece of Facebook’s business by either launching similar money making initiatives in the future or maybe even outright purchase promising startups with innovative technologies that can put a dent in Facebook’s market share. The fact is that Facebook is here to stay and all the competitors in the market that are looking for some of that advertising revenue will eventually figure out a way to get a piece of the action.

  36. Mira said on June 10th, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    I can’t believe I’m adding to that large amount of revenue. In reality, i don’t get much out of Facebook–just distraction from school work an work, really. I’m not even liking how they’re handling our privacy policies!!

  37. XDude said on June 12th, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    I think you are right about how much they earn a year. You like surfing, I like flying and I know they can buy a stealth bomber every year (if not before) with that revenue. XD

  38. michael said on June 21st, 2010 at 1:57 am

    very interesting. Lots of people already made millions from the internet. I think it’s about time for us to do the same! great program!

  39. tfranks said on June 21st, 2010 at 2:35 am

    i used to tweet but that got old really quickly. i am a facebook abuser and i do notice the ads everyday. i posted one myself and even though i am included in my target group i never saw mine…hmm …go figure!

  40. Sally Lewis said on June 21st, 2010 at 3:27 am

    wow,that’s a lot of money! i should make my own social network :))

  41. Katy said on June 23rd, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    To me, it not that bad of a thing that Google is taking the time to learn and improve from these cool new kids on the block. Better yet, Google should just buy Facebook and Twitter. Just look at Youtube.

  42. WhoDoVooDoo said on June 24th, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    Damn, Facebook. You have…a LOT more money than I thought. Katy is right though; It’s wise of Google to play the role of the student, for once. It’ll more than pay off in the future.

  43. kpm said on June 25th, 2010 at 12:34 am

    It is incredible to me what a public and fiscal success Facebook has become. I remember when it first opened and was only available to college students and I didn’t even really understand the purpose of it. Its so hard to believe that it has become such a large part of our society and such a lucrative business!

  44. Amanda Rae said on June 25th, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    I am optimistic that these sites will stay separate and unique. Yes, they take ideas from one another but it obviously contributes to their success. I love these three sites!

  45. kmwolfe said on July 13th, 2010 at 9:25 am

    My biggest worry about these conglomerations of social networks is that they are using our information for their own means. On one hand, it is the price of free networking. On the other hand, I do not believe those who signed up years ago imagined these developments and cannot be held in agreement to the terms.

  46. SnowBall said on July 17th, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    @Dasdream: Yeah, Twitter doesn’t make that much? I feel like that can’t be right.
    @Kevin: I highly doubt Google will ever be gone at any point. I use Google and Facebook equally. So unless Facebook give you a legit email address and let’s you look up anything anywhere, and gives you the latest news from CNN AND your horoscope, I really don’t think Google is going anywhere ever.

  47. Hoo Kang said on August 4th, 2010 at 2:12 am

    Interesting how what you said a couple of months ago is turning out to be true. In terms of Facebook, Google, and Twitter.

    I didn’t realize that post about Shoemoney’s hatred for SEO was related to you. That’s hilarious!

    I also like the depth of insight where you share in terms of internet surfing. It really is complicated and difficult to figure out whats the right way to do everything.

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