Because let's be fair: Facebook is one of the very few companies that announces active users, with a fairly clear definition of what they mean by "active". At this point they're likely to have more accounts (including unused ones) than there are people alive so it would be silly now, but they've virtually always used the active metric.
They could hit 1.5 billion tomorrow if a group of hackers got ambitious. The number is practically meaningless. Unique individual numbers are far lower.
What would be a better metric in your mind than MAU? Contrast facebooks MAU to google pluses "has a google account" metric.
The facebook prospectus also has daily active users of which at last count there were 483mil.
Worked for a social gaming company, investigated this exact problem ("How many of our DAUs are multiple accounts?"). For our game, which had mechanics that encouraged player-to-player commerce, the number of these fake accounts was huge: around 40% on DAUs of ~150k. It was clear to me and my co-workers that this was a big issue, everywhere. But everyone in the space benefits from saying "1 BILLION USERS!" when you are selling ad reach. Except for those actually buying ads. Oops.
Moved on to different things, shorted ZNGA in April after the OMGPOP acquisition, having been privy to this scheme. Have made a decent return, covering at ~$5, but missed the last two big drops. I'm not particularly concerned what you choose to believe, because my view has worked out pretty well for me.
I was trying to judge active users so I used a script to visit each profile I'd URL and check the "last logged in" date that was a part of everyone's default profile.
(this was 2006 or 2007 so I'm fuzzy on exacts) the MAU was around 49% of what MySpace was claiming at th time. So many accounts hadn't logged in in at least 6 months.
I don't have he data files any longer, but I was using it to plot the actives...
TV advertisers are restricted to one way flow of information, so advertising is about building brand. It's difficult to convert this into conversions. On-line advertising however have accurate statistics because of the available analytical software. Advertisers stick to conversions only as it's still a wild west when it comes to accurate impressions (even Facebook has been caught cheating on viewer counts). Until advertisers cater to surfers the full potential of on-line advertising won't be realised.
I assume it's what caused the shortfall in Google IO's graph, I personally feel on-line marketing understated as a medium.
I would say that knowing the absolute reach of as many channels as possible is important including billboards etc. If you expect a 0.5% conversion rate, as long as you filter out ones that reach less than a million people a week, all of your options represent a serious return.
I ran a pricing survey there a while ago and a lot of people were willing to pay 11111111111 or 12345 dollars per month.
Seriously, did you have something to add to the conversation, or are you just pointing out random things everyone knows?
Back in 2008, I created some accounts for fun to see how Facebook worked, began sending out random requests first day to 4-5 people, next day to 4,5 people. On the third day I had more than 40 friends and was in a circle in some other country and people began writing on my wall asking how I am. Lame.
But knowing that many humans use the internet as a transport to a walled garden aware of their IRL identity and holding captive a heap of their personal data, this is frightening.
Please stop it.
Roughly the equivalent of all of Germany's population (with 80M) being Facebook fake users.
Nevertheless I agree.. Impressive low number. Due to the scale of user base this still translates into a ridiculous amount of fake users
80M is a large number, sure. But there are probably sites and services with 100M supposed users that have 80M fakes (some dating sites come to mind, as did MySpace in its prime). And I'm probably only exaggerating a tiny bit.
Or are you just taking a valid question that was asked, "will they have to disclose their counting methods", and trying to start a philosophical argument about how to value companies? Because it looks like that's what you're doing.
Plus, they almost certainly count public page views to Facebook (like the link above), which means every new non-logged in session gets counted as a new user. It is totally valid in my opinion to count these, but they are hyper-inflationary.
And they don't count non-logged-in users. You have to be logged in and either visit facebook.com, or click a like button.
Long-story short, Facebook's total monthly active user count is largely irrelevant to individuals purchasing ads.
In this way, inflating monthlies has a direct effect on ad revenue.
But I think that to Google - the fact I log into GMAIL makes me an active G+ user.
And here's another vision for you: I was on the border of Zambia/Zimbabwe which is a refugee camp (known locally as Baghdad). This little 6 year old girl was running around playing in the back alley and she had a toy cell phone that she was pretending to talk into (sauntering and throwing her hair so I would notice). What do you think she's going to buy as soon as she can ? For many people its the first luxury they buy. Its communication, its their future.
Hopefully a typo. For reference Africa comprises ≈54 countries depending on who's counting and who counts.
But yes, infrastructure will pose a problem. Will it be specifically so for facebook though? The argument should apply equally to competitors.
Assuming you're looking beyond the simple answer (because they 're not selling a product/service the majority of their user-base will purchase), I'd say they suffer from the lack of agility. Facebook's size increases their effort to implement even the simplest of changes. We've seen how fickle those users are about little changes and future ones could affect the group in negative and unintended ways. I'm sure every change is examined to death before implementation. In contrast, a start-up making changes might lose their early adopters, but could gain orders of magnitude more users because of that change. Facebook, however, already has the user-base. Facebook needs to keep them happy and drastically changing things in the name of profit would probably send people running. Of course not everyone will run and profit might increase, but those changes would have to be time consuming just from an implementation standpoint given their size and now being publicly traded the desire to keep the investors happy.
Maybe Facebook users are being more self ware (privacy conscious) of who they add as a "friend"?
It's possible that today, students still do that, but other people don't, bringing the average down.
So, I think the answer here is that as the audience for Facebook has diversified, the average number of friends has settled to a more realistic number.
You can realistically only know a small number of people, and 300 is probably a good estimate for acquaintances rather than friends, over time you add people, remove people, fall out with people etc.
In the first few weeks you add more people than ever, then the curve slows down to 'old' and 'new' friends, in which case the trend slows down as all the people you used to know have added you.
I know that now, 5 years in to my use of an account, I delete more 'friends' than I add.
Not because of privacy concerns, mind you, I just realize now that a lot of the people I added in the early days weren't 'friends', they were just 'people' with whom I had some intangibly vague connection.
"Dunbar's number is a suggested cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships. These are relationships in which an individual knows who each person is, and how each person relates to every other person. Proponents assert that numbers larger than this generally require more restrictive rules, laws, and enforced norms to maintain a stable, cohesive group. No precise value has been proposed for Dunbar's number. It has been proposed to lie between 100 and 230, with a commonly used value of 150."
Right after that, Facebook sent me an email. Subject: "Welcome back to Facebook."
Apparently I'm a reengaged monthly active user!
"As of December 31, 2010, there were 647.6 million active Tencent QQ IM user accounts, making Tencent QQ the world's largest online community. The number of simultaneously online QQ accounts has sometimes exceeded 100 million."
Definitely beats gmail's 425 million.
Why do you think that (seriously asking)? Gmail didn't become available to the public until 3 years after Facebook launched (admittedly Facebook was initially limited to certain groups of people). Before I signed up to Facebook Hotmail was still very popular with everyone I knew, mainly because they all used MSN Messenger. It's only been in the last 2/3 years or so I've seen most of the people I know default to Google when creating an email account. Up until then Hotmail was all people really new.
Facebook (or rather, TheFacebook) launched just a few months before at Harvard.
iam so under average \o/
* Implement a policy of not friending anybody you don't know in real life.
* Block any game with "ville" in its name.
Some of the games are fun, and some of the apps are useful.
and yet, someone has to call the ceasar naked
keep voting down, for me it's karma points well spent
If all they wanted was to make money, then there would be ads all over the place, instead of the few, limited places at the moment (the right of the main page area, underneath comments on pictures, etc.)
In all honesty, I don't see why people constantly complain about the ads on twitter or facebook, do they really effect you that much that you would stop using the service?
Facebook has 1,000,000,000 users now, that kind of scaling isn't cheap, you want a large social network with all of your friends which you can use 24/7, completely free (cost for your internet, etc, aside) and that isn't sustainable without the website making money somehow. Most people aren't willing to pay for Facebook, if that was a viable solution then it would be the Facebook income stream.
Saying "Facebook wants to make money, if this doesn't change, I will stop using it" is the same as saying "The company which runs the buses in my area puts ads in it's bus stand, so I'm going to stop standing in it."
Whether we like it or not, Facebook is now an integral part of many peoples lives, I live in a different country to my family, Facebook lets me chat to them easily and freely, I could send them a letter instead, but that's subject the thievery, loss and costs a lot more money.
So Facebook wants more ads on it's site? Who cares? As long as the key features are still there, 1,000,000,000+ people and it doesn't effect the way you interact with the site too much, it doesn't make a difference in the end.
I disagree, I think that they are just looking to make an impact on the world.
But then people would hate the site even more than they do now, and would leave. They aren't doing it out of some altruistic desire to "change the world", they are just not total morons who are willing to kill their cash cow for a short term profit.
>Facebook has 1,000,000,000 users now, that kind of scaling isn't cheap, you want a large social network with all of your friends which you can use 24/7, completely free (cost for your internet, etc, aside) and that isn't sustainable without the website making money somehow
Yes it is, there is no reason at all that one company needs to be running it. A distributed social network would work fine.