Originally published at Now Is A Long Time Too. You can comment here or there.
There’s a lot of talk across the ‘net in the last couple of weeks concerning Facebook. An article from Read/WriteWeb, Is Facebook worth the hype? queries, well, just that.
I’ve been using Facebook for about a week now. I’ve made contact with people I hadn’t heard from in over ten years. Some of my less technically-minded older friends are using it with as much enthusiasm as the kids who can’t remember not having email.
The Read/WriteWeb article essentially questions two things; the stickiness of Facebook and the monetisation. It notes that (according to the people who run MySpace) MySpace handily beats all comers in nearly every metric: visitors, page views, stickiness, etc.
What’s stickiness? AdServer Solutions says it’s “A performance metric based on the ability of a web site to hold a visitor’s attention. A web site’s stickiness is average duration per user session or per unique visitor.”
MySpace is “sticky” in those terms precisely because it’s badly designed, badly put together, and hard to navigate. Most MySpace profiles look like they were ripped directly from GeoCities around 1997. You have to spend a long time on MySpace because getting to the information you want takes time. On Facebook, by contrast, the information you want is there on the homepage, and a few clicks gets you pretty much everything else necessary. Facebook’s design is better, cleaner, and more usable, and over time, that is going to make a difference.
As for monetisation, well… Facebook’s ad placement is, putting it kindly, sub-optimal. They’re currently using untargetted ads, placed low on the left-hand side of pages. Once they start to target ads based on what’s in user’s profiles (and why they’re not doing this already is a mystery to me), and place the things a bit better, their advertising benefits are going to rocket.
In my opinion, MySpace’s days are numbered, and Facebook will win out - at least until the next big thing.