Monday, November 26, 2007

Is Facebook growth declining?

I have been following the numbers available through Facebook's ad utility since it became available.

When I looked at the numbers last week (Thursday 22nd) I noticed that the number of users per country had decreased for most countries. Why?

The growth, sampled every week, is summarized in the table below (actual numbers available here).

Hm, why is this? Is the hype over? Or what does Facebook really measure?

Have people actually cancelled their Facebook accounts? Or does Facebook somehow measure active users (ie users who have logged in during the last x month). Has Facebook cleaned up the data, or is this a temporary glitch in the numbers?

It is also interesting to compare with Jeff Pulver's recent statistics, where he measures the growth the last month. The decrease is not visible here, as it occured the last week. Also, Jeff's numbers are from Sunday 25th, and seems to be slightly higher (number of users) for most countries.

No way to tell right now what the long term trend is, let's follow up over time. Also note that the numbers are only available for 31 countries, and the selection of these 31 is not clear.

Note that Alexa also shows a decrease in number of pageviews the last few days:

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Friday, November 16, 2007

IKEA now has a Facebook page

Just saw that IKEA now have a Facebook page.

Last week I noticed an IKEA ad in my Facebook news feed, but couldn't find a Facebook page for IKEA.

Now it's here. Not much more yet, but it will be interesting to follow how IKEA uses this channel

Notice that the ad was in Swedish and apparently targeted at the Swedish audience. The Facebook page seem to be intented as an international page. Although Social Ads can be targeted to specific countries I wonder how the "fansumer" conversation will evolve.

Will it only draw English-speaking individuals, or will the conversation be a mixture of languages? Should IKEA set up separate pages for each country to secure a flow of comments in each language? How will Facebook target the multi-lingual scenario?

And it is not clear if it really was IKEA that set up this page. How does Facebook verify that a brand is claimed by a legitimate individual?

As I live close to IKEA in Barkaby, and visit IKEA now and then, I joined as a fan. Also to follow the evolution on how this channel is used. I was #14 to join.

(And yes, we have the bookshelf 'Billy' at home. I love it.)

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Friday, November 9, 2007

IKEA goes SocialMedia

Today this showed up in my Facebook news feed:

Not a surprise that IKEA uses this channel, especially with the strong uptake of Facebook in Sweden.

SocialAd or not?

Is this a part of the SocialAds feature from Facebook? I don't think so. I can not find a Facebook Page for IKEA. So is this a SocialAd or another type of ad that is shown in the news feed?

I am not sure if I like this.

Ads are fine to me, but not when they clutter up the news feed. Keep them as banners around the screen. If I had a friend who is an IKEA fan, and this was part of a SocialAd, clearly indicating who was the fan of IKEA it might work, but I am not sure...

What is your view? Ads in the news feed - good or bad?

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Thursday, November 8, 2007

I and my blog qouted by mainstream media

Metro quoted me in relation to the Facebook uptake in Sweden. Metro even recommended this blog.

Is this good? I guess so, it is always nice when you get reactions to your blog. Of course for your ego, and also for the brands of this blog and myself. The online article have generated some traffic to this blog, but I still get the majority of the traffic from other sources.

I must say the actual quote might not be that valuable. "You can see yourself that it [Facebook usage] is growing. You find more and more people you know [in Facebook]. Facebook is the only site that is really broad right now. On other social networks you find considerable less people you know".

I also discussed the accuracy of the figures with Metro. This was not at all discussed in the article.

Two of the questions around this:

  • The figures are probably based on registered users. This is fine, but does not say anything about the number of active users.

  • These numbers are not available for all countries (see Jeff Pulver's post for a list of the countries). Why? Do the other countries have significant less users? Or are there other reasons for countries not to be included in the list?

Anyway, Facebook is widely used in Sweden. See my post on that Sweden passed 1 million users here and the post with detailed statistics from Sweden here.

And finally. I was a bit disappointed that the paper verion of the article was shorter and didn't mention me or this blog... That's life I guess, better luck next time.

Update 071109: Turns out that I was quoted in the paper version after all! Not in the "mainstream", green and daily edition, but is the purple, weekly, edition called 'Metro Teknik'.

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Monday, November 5, 2007

Over one million Facebook users in Sweden

After my post last week with some details of the Facebook statistics in Sweden I noticed today that Sweden now has over one million Facebook users. At least according to the same source I used last time.
And if you look at Alexa you see that Facebook is number two among the most visited sites in Sweden.
So, it is not a surprise that Expressen, a major newspaper targeting the broad population, offers "share on Facebook" as an option for each article on the web.

Update 071107: Also Aftonbladet, the other "major tabloid newspaper" in Sweden, has a "show on Facebook" option for the articles. Thanks Bengt for mentioning this in a comment. I actually looked at this at Aftonbladet when writing the post, but apparently missed it.

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OpenSocial out in the open

As Google OpenSocial launched formally Nov. 1st more and more information gets available.

And OpenSocial sites are already up and running. Plaxo announced that they are live, not surprisingly Orkut also have a live sandbox environment and Ning also went live with OpenSocial support.

The actual API is still in version 0.5, and not formally released. This means that the details will change and evolve. Some issues have been reported with the current live sites. One application running on Plaxo have been hacked, but probably because of the code in the app. rather than than the API iteslf. Also some problems have been reported around the Orkut sandbox.

OpenSocial have happened quite fast. Joseph Smarr from Plaxo have an interesting post outlining the short time used to develop the Plaxo OpenSocial support. Also watch the video in his post.

Both Bebo and MySpace joined the initiative. Facebook, Microsoft and Yahoo is still missing. For how long? What should Facebook do?

So - will OpenSocial change the world?
And how? What will it provide, and more interesting, what will it not provide?
A number of questions are still open for speculation.

Good for developers
OpenSocial is still mainly, of not only, a value proposition for application developers who wants to launch their applications across multiple Social Networks.
From that perspective it is good for developers. A common API to use that will ensure that their applications are likely to run on many Social Networks. I say likely. As with many such API I expect that there will be details in the implementation that differs between those who implement the SPI side (the "containers", the Social Networks).

Good for the SoNets
It is also a good move for most Social Networks. Everyone are eager to jump on the route to success that an open API seems to be. Not that an open API will give you success directly, but it will be hard not to have one.
With OpenSocial there is no need for each SoNet to define their own API, and try to get the developer's community on board. Instead there will be a defined API (or SPI actually) to implement.

Good for the consumers?
But what about you and me? The users of Social Networks? Will we see any difference?
Probably not in the short term. Over time the number of available applications will grow, and that is probably a good thing to most of us.
But this also means we need not only to trust the SoNets with our data, but also a number of small and big applications providers. Privacy will continue to be discussed.

And for the SocialGraph?
Will OpenSocial add any value to the SocialGraph problem? Probably over time, but initially it is more or less a "Gadget" framework as it seems.
And as Bob Warfield writes: "Who will be first to write an app whose sole purpose is to carry your identity and Social Graph from one network to the next?"

Where does this place Google?
Friend or foe? How will Google benefit from OpenSocial?

One obviuos angle is that Orkut from Google is implementing OpenSocial. And I still don't believe we have seen the last around Google Contacts. What I saw the other day has very little "social" aspects targeted. Expect that Google Contacts goes social soon. (Is this what maka-maka is really about?)

Another discussion is around the overall role Google aims at. "Is Google Exercising Leadership or Control?"

And what about Facebook?
Yes. What about Facebook? Cornered or not? I would say no, not cornered. The main value for SoNets are still the user base. And Facebook is where the crowd goes right now.

The vasty majority of users have not heard about OpenSocial, and couldn't care less. Even if the playground is changing, it is changing slowly for the masses. If you have joined Facebook because a lot of your friends are there you are likely to hang around for a while.

Also, develpers will not abandon Facebook just because of OpenSocial. There's also voices that the Facebook API is better that OpenSocial.

Who will move next?
What will the next move be?
Facebook will move further into the mobile space, and also launch SocialAds.
What's the next move from OpenSocial?


Sunday, November 4, 2007

Here is Google Contacts!

I earlier asked where Google Contacts is.

Apparently it was not part of the OpenSocial announcement.

However it seems to be part of the upcomming new release of Gmail.

This post highlights a video from the Google Analyst Day where the new Gmail functionality was demonstrated.

It seems like the new contacts will "integrate across multiple Google products, including Docs and Calendar".

And this new functionality seems already to be available for some users. Not for me yet.


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