Face it, Facebook isn’t even close to being worth what’s going to get paid for it

Like many frothing at the mouth online analysts and social networking ravers, Pete Cashmore suggests that Zuckerberg is right to act like he’s in no rush to sell Facebook, but this is silly. Zuckerberg is playing high stakes poker and he has a LOT to lose – certainly hundreds of millions if Facebook hits any major snags or if some newer and hipper online community takes root. I suspect he knows this but is loving the game, and I certainly admire this young whippersnapper for that and for creating such a magnificent web community. Magnificent, but only “worth” a fraction of the 1+ billion Cashmore suggests Facebook is now worth as an independent business.

But then what do I know, I traded my Apple for WCOM back in the day.

I do think Google will now scarf them up as part of their “empty the lake of big fish” marketing strategy, and I predict they’ll pay about 1.1 billion, but this is the luck of timing by Zuckerman, not a market based assessment of the value of Facebook as an independent entity, which everybody seems to be wildly overestimating. YouTube’s the same situation, where it’s value is not in streaming 100,000,000 crappy videos per day, rather in the fact that it helps Google, now awash in high valued stock, consolidate their position as the key online advertising leader.

The funny thing is that the *same rationales* used in 1999 are rearing their silly heads again, and only a handful of investors are noticing this. Unlike 1999 there are now many *real companies* out there with moderately long and profitable online histories, but ironically they appear to be very undervalued compared to the more speculative plays.

Should Blogging ban Conferences?

Nielsen banned blogging at a recent conference leading Steve Rubel to ask “Should Conferences Ban Blogging?” I think a much better question is this:

Should Blogging ban Conferences?

Over the last 18 months or so I’ve made a point of attending several internet-related conferences. Some were informative, some fun but one of the most important things I took away was how much more I could have learned by simply spending an equal amount of time in careful online study of new developments.

This was even true at the best conference format from the superb UNconferences held by Dave Berlind and Doug Gold in Mountain View. So, why am I heading down to their latest effort, Startup Camp, next Wednesday and Thursday? … Well, it’s because conferences are a very enjoyable way to meet people and learn a few new tricks and “get out” from the somewhat nonsocial work environments in which many online professionals dwell much of the time, especially independents like me.

But blogging those conferences is really enjoyable, creates highly relevant new content for the web, and most importantly spreads the word to people who can’t attend due to expense or distance or whatever.

The idea of conferences banning blogging is very shortsighted from the conference’s financial success perspective since blogging is free publicity for next year and will encourage the growing legions of citizen journalists to attend.

FAR more importantly, Banning blogging is also turning the internet efficiency on it’s head and suggesting that the goal of conferences is the greedy monetization of the conference itself, rather than the appropriate monetization of the education and social experience.

Hey conferences – if you have something worth saying, it’s worth your attendees blogging about it.

UPDATE:  Max has a thoughtful reply, though I don’t agree:

Max this is a thoughtful argument and correctly separates this case from normal conference blogging as I failed to do in my critical post.
However I remain skeptical of any anti-blogging policy since it defies a new open standard that suggests blogging keeps the online world humming along nicely.  This appears to be too close to asserting that it’s OK to profit from online communities and activities with no obligation to share insights with that same community.

Myspace to Facebook migration underway. Next Facebook to ?

Washington Post piece suggests Myspace may be in trouble as teens migrate from there to Facebook, which until a month ago was a college socializing website but now covers the globe. I’m not sure Facebook will be the endpoint though. Seems to me that the ‘need’ for a social network separate from the internet network is a transitional thing. What we’ll see eventually are socializing applications/gadgets/routines that will collect information from everybody’s online activities and disperse the info in ways over which we will have a fair amount of control.
For example as I write this blog entry (or do anything online) I should be able to click a button and have all the content dump into all my other web “spaces”. (This actually happens at Facebook already and kudos to them for the blog import feature).

Seems that any writing I want to make public should be placed in any and all appropriate places and be completely searchable from many search engines within minutes. We are a long way from that but I see social networks as a transitional form, not a final form, of online socializing, content creation, and content distribution.

Complicating the commercial analysis of the migration is the fact that users of Myspace are getting older, and probably are less likely to shift once they have established themselves on a social network.

However, it would seem to me that the most profound aspect of social networking has not really surfaced yet and that’s the fact that people will become increasingly frustrated with the fact that their Myspace / Facebook web pages and web views are primarily and overwhelmingly benefiting those companies rather than the content producers.

Heavy online users often don’t even realize that simply surfing around online and composing new and original content is a key component of all those juicy ad dollars flowing to many in the food chain like Google and Myspace and Facebook, but not to the owner of a Facebook or Myspace page.