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October 07, 2010

For Facebook to make more money than Google they must get a lot more efficient or dominate over 98% of todays web traffic

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Techcrunch's Adam Rifkin makes the case that Facebook can become bigger in revenue than Google is today within 5 year.

Facebook already passed Google for page views.

Alvin Wang points out - Currently, Google makes fourteen times as much revenue per impression as Facebook. Currently, Facebook has 7.07% of Internet traffic. To increase revenue by 14 times, they would need to serve 98% of today's web traffic. Admittedly, web traffic will increase but it still requires Google to push less than 7% of Facebook traffic to equal the same revenue.

The reason for the lower revenue per impression is that people surf Facebook for friends and social and not to buy. That is why Facebook Marketplace failed.

Rifkin tries to make the case that Facebook will take away from Television and other brand building advertising venues.


If I (Rifken) add my rough numbers for Facebook’s TV ad siphoning ($10 billion) + Games ($3 billion) + Places & Pages deals ($10 billion) + Credits & PayPal ($12 billion) + Photos ($1 billion) + Inbox ($1 billion) + Some of Bret Taylor’s other ten applications (???) = over $30 billion (actually, closer to $40 billion) in annual revenues five years from now. Which is more than Google has in annual revenues today.

Is this analysis sloppy, hasty, laden with assumptions, and likely incorrect? Sure. But does it illustrate the possibilities of a very powerful Facebook five years from now? Yes.


Facebook has to prevent becoming the next Myspace or Friendster, where people choose to go to the next big social network. I am not entrenched on Facebook. I use Linkedin. I am still open to shifting and may for social networking systems that are better with privacy and other tools.

Google has an advantage with developers and systems that can rapidly and efficiently scale. Software development and technical infrastructure and business model resources and capabilities matter. I think that Facebook systems are far more fragile. I think that Google can crack the nut of a competing social network and social gaming platform. I also think that a collection of companies that support an open social API and practices will win.

Further Reading

Brick and Mortar retailers are trying to connect and leverage Facebook

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