Today we’d be hard pressed to deny that to the public, Facebook is pretty much priceless, playing an undeniably large part in our daily lives. It allows both the public and companies to network efficiently, opening up new opportunities and options in both our personal and professional lives that would otherwise take anything from weeks to months. These new opportunities are created by driving visitors towards a particular website, offering a facility to regenerate old friendships, and providing a platform to forge new mutually beneficial relationships to further social or professional ends. In addition to this, Facebook is a driving force in the day-to-day organisation of events, and distribution of information.
However, the question must be asked: what is the real price of this freedom of communication? It cannot be denied that one of the most attractive things about Zuckerburg’s site is the lack of fee to be paid. However, this supposed benefit comes at the price of advertisements on every page we access through our browsers. Personally, I don’t even notice the adverts any more, they seem to merge into the background and overall setup of Facebook, but it seems that in the near future there is the potential for a huge increase in this encroachment on space of our computer screens.
In order to make a profit, Facebook faces the challenge of convincing investing companies and agencies that “a message from a friend” is the best form of advertising for their product or service. Facebook is undoubtedly an incredibly effective platform for the promotion of products- with an inexhaustible supply of eyes around the world constantly on the site. Because of this, it is expected to be an advertising machine. While companies such as Google take advertising to a new level- offering a technological solution to enable lots of people to place ads easily (by bidding for key words or the space next to these words- immediately placing said ad next to the key word all over the web), Facebook has employed what seems to be a rather standard mode of advertising. This has recently led the company to be on a knife edge of failure or success.
The problem with Facebook’s mode of advertising is that they constantly devalue investor’s products, trying to fit as many on a page as possible. This is a response to the ever increasing traffic that the website experiences. The lowering prices of ads against the increasing traffic may mask the problem of lack of profit in the short term, but actually ends up decreasing the value of the adverts, and therefore Facebook itself.
When we take into account mobile media, the problem becomes a lot clearer. Because of the small size of smartphone and tablet pages, only a small amount of adverts can be placed on any one page, which means that unless Facebook can come up with a solution, there is the very real potential the demise of this company may come about due to the increased use of this mode of media.