Facebook is on a mainstream media roll!
The New York Times was the “lucky” media vehicle to tease a Facebook classifieds “Craigslist and newspapers killer” ten days ago; Today, the other “newspaper of record,” The Wall Street Journal gets its turn to tease the latest and supposedly greatest Facebook “game changer,” a new "open" Facebook.
Vauhini Vara begins her “people familiar with the matter” story waxing poetic on the Facebook “story”:
Facebook Inc. has bucked the Silicon Valley acquisition trend, remaining independent of larger technology companies. Now the social-networking start-up is seeking ways to reach the big leagues on its own.
Really? Facebook purports to be the “big leagues” already, perhaps even a “Prince” among social networking royalty!
So, what’s the big deal?
On Thursday, the Palo Alto,
Calif., company will announce a new strategy to let other companies provide their services on special pages within its popular Web site. These companies will be able to link into Facebook users' networks of online friends, according to people familiar with the matter.
The Wall Street Journal punchline:
This move is significant because it could turn Facebook into a central hub for Web users, akin to an Internet portal like Yahoo Inc.
The New York Times, last week, on watch out newspapers and Craigslist, here comes Facebook:
Many established companies are likely to be paying attention to the new service. Most notably, Craigslist, which is based in San Francisco and offers classified ads for more than 300 cities that are largely free. Job sites like Monster.com and CareerBuilder, which have services aimed at college graduates, are also likely to take notice, as are dozens of other online classified ventures and car-trading sites. Traditional media like college newspapers, which rely to a varying degree on classified ads, may be threatened as well.
So is the ENTIRE media world, online and off, now shaking in their digital boots because Facebook is “bucking the silicon Valley trend,” as both the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times would have many to believe as they pre-announce Facebook news on behalf of Facebook and “people familiar with Facebook”?
Not on the classifieds front, as I have been documenting and analyzing since the New York Times’ “scoop” ten days ago. I have spoken with many of the insider players and have the real deal on what is really going down with the not quite Craigslist killer that is Facebook.
What about the "portal" front?
Even the ever prudent Rafat Ali senses a tad “overkill” in his appropriately titled piece, “Facebook moving to an open platforms strategy”:
WSJ says this could turn the site into a bigger portal-like play, though that’s probably overstating it.
So what really is the face of Facebook? I wrote last week:
Facebook began with a purity of purpose, but those days are long gone. As the Facebook multi billion dollar acquisition rumors grow, it strays farther and farther from the core differentiator that fueled its initial traction.
Facebook stood for something, once. Founded by a college student, its appeal was that it served as an online extension of college campuses, by and for the college students.
Now, it stands for what’s best for Facebook: Unlimited demographic diversification and commercialization, while nevertheless attempting to cling to its founding philosophical centricism via feel good Facebook positioning.