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How Jan Koum Steered WhatsApp Into $16B Facebook Deal

timothy posted about 2 months ago | from the ok-today-I-can-supersize-it dept.

Businesses 136

First time accepted submitter paulbes writes "Jan Koum picked a meaningful spot to sign the $19 billion deal to sell his company WhatsApp to Facebook [Wednesday]. Koum, cofounder Brian Acton and venture capitalist Jim Goetz of Sequoia drove a few blocks from WhatsApp's discreet headquarters in Mountain View to a disused white building across the railroad tracks, the former North County Social Services office where Koum, 37, once stood in line to collect food stamps. That's where the three of them inked the agreement to sell their messaging phenom –which brought in a minuscule $20 million in revenue last year — to the world's largest social network." Forbes overstates the apparent selling price by a few billion dollars; big numbers, either way. [Update: 02/20 13:51 GMT by T : The $19 billion makes sense, if you include retention bonuses in the form of restricted stock units.] Another reader points out the interesting fact that "Acton — himself a former Apple engineer — applied for jobs at both Twitter and Facebook way before WhatsApp became a wildly popular mobile app. Both times he was rejected."

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136 comments

And then posted .. (1)

OzPeter (195038) | about 2 months ago | (#46294087)

Take that SnapChat!

Re:And then posted .. (4, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 2 months ago | (#46294927)

Am I the only person that had never heard of "WhatsApp" prior to news of this buyout?

Re:And then posted .. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46295241)

Apparently you're not one of the 400M global users certainly. However, I think the keyword there is "global"; it seems to be pretty prevalent in non-Western countries from what I can gather.

Re:And then posted .. (3, Funny)

JeffOwl (2858633) | about 2 months ago | (#46296105)

However, I think the keyword there is "global"; it seems to be pretty prevalent in non-Western countries from what I can gather.

Yes, it's the David Hasselhoff of messaging apps

Re:And then posted .. (1)

rasmusbr (2186518) | about 2 months ago | (#46296251)

Apparently you're not one of the 400M global users certainly. However, I think the keyword there is "global"; it seems to be pretty prevalent in non-Western countries from what I can gather.

Yep, and presumably among teenagers and children in western countries, the ones who presumably hold the dagger that could kill any of the incumbent social networks.

Re:And then posted .. (1)

Frederic54 (3788) | about 2 months ago | (#46295273)

No don't worry, I have no clue what it is too, and paying 19B for something like this seems nonsense?!?

Re:And then posted .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46296801)

Supposedly the argument is for the ability to gain users; they started in 2010 and shot to 400M users with no marketing in just a few years, faster than Facebook or any other network out there. Zuckerburg places an extremely high value on integrating people; user numbers and integration is more important to him than revenue apparently.

I hear that (4, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | about 2 months ago | (#46294109)

I hear that facebook also offered $19 for slashdot beta.

Re:I hear that (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46294155)

To be fair, they really just needed quarters for the meter.

Re:I hear that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46294181)

Overpriced at any price.

Re:I hear that (1)

TWX (665546) | about 2 months ago | (#46294185)

You sure that it wasn't $0.19?

Re:I hear that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46294277)

They would do well to buy the old comment system though.
Some posts have thousands of comments which are completely unwieldy but would probably contain a few gems that Slashdot's meta moderation would make more prominent.

Re:I hear that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46294323)

I see what you did there - you took his perfectly reasonable $19 price and made a joke by suggesting the absurd 19 cents. Very clever!

Re:I hear that (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46294517)

0.19 Dogecoin

It's Pets.com all over again (3, Insightful)

goombah99 (560566) | about 2 months ago | (#46294447)

During the Holland Tulip bubble, tulips became worth enormous amounts and some, like a black tulip, were exceedingly. Reportedly, the owner of a black tulip bought what he believed was the only other black tulip in existence for a prodigious sum, and then crushed it with his foot. "HaHa! Now I have the only one!" (only in Danish).

whats.app had absolutely no intellectual property and it would take less than 1 million dollars to produce a polished work-alike. All the Facebook bought was it's customer list, nearly all of which probably already use facebook.

The tulip age has returned again. Pets.com zombies walk the earth.

Re:It's Pets.com all over again (2)

josgeluk (842109) | about 2 months ago | (#46294555)

"HaHa! Now I have the only one!" (only in Danish).

Strange. Why would he have spoken Danish?

Re:It's Pets.com all over again (4, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | about 2 months ago | (#46294767)

"HaHa! Now I have the only one!" (only in Danish).

Strange. Why would he have spoken Danish?

He didn't want the Dutch to know he was gloating!

Re:It's Pets.com all over again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46294957)

Wouldn't have worked - most Dutch can reasonably understand the Danes enough to get the gist of it;

Danish: Haha! Nu har jeg den eneste
Dutch: HaHa! Nu heb ik de enige

I know, I know.. woosh.

Re:It's Pets.com all over again (2)

jittles (1613415) | about 2 months ago | (#46295137)

During the Holland Tulip bubble, tulips became worth enormous amounts and some, like a black tulip, were exceedingly. Reportedly, the owner of a black tulip bought what he believed was the only other black tulip in existence for a prodigious sum, and then crushed it with his foot. "HaHa! Now I have the only one!" (only in Danish).

whats.app had absolutely no intellectual property and it would take less than 1 million dollars to produce a polished work-alike. All the Facebook bought was it's customer list, nearly all of which probably already use facebook.

The tulip age has returned again. Pets.com zombies walk the earth.

Facebook did not buy the customer list. They bought the chat history of millions of people. They are going to mine those chat histories and use those to expand the dossiers they have on their users. Also WhatsApp is popular in a lot of countries and markets where Facebook adoption is somewhat low.

Re:It's Pets.com all over again (1)

ultranova (717540) | about 2 months ago | (#46295575)

whats.app had absolutely no intellectual property and it would take less than 1 million dollars to produce a polished work-alike. All the Facebook bought was it's customer list, nearly all of which probably already use facebook.

No, what Facebook bought was a lack of a competitor. Facebook is, at the core, a wiretapped communication medium that sells analyses of the aggregate wiretapped data. Every alternative communication channel competes with them.

Re:It's Pets.com all over again (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 2 months ago | (#46295967)

75% of the $19BN is in facebook stock, so it's more like trading some tulips for some other tulips.

You couldn't be more wrong if you tried. (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 2 months ago | (#46296665)

whats.app had absolutely no intellectual property and it would take less than 1 million dollars to produce a polished work-alike.

True. But what Facebook is paying for isn't the code. It's the userbase and all the data associated with them. It's a strong quasi-contender with a hefty presence in an overlapping market segment. (Etc... etc...) Replicating those is non-trivial at best. If you think it's so easy and cheap, have at it, I wish you all the luck in the world. But I won't invest the penny I picked up off the sidewalk yesterday in your business.

Seriously, there's a lot more to technology businesses than the code and the hardware it runs on, and a lot more to running a business long term than just minding your own knitting. Facebook (and Google, and Amazon, and... a whole host of others) grasp that. Slashdot pretty much doesn't.

Rags to riches... (5, Interesting)

TWX (665546) | about 2 months ago | (#46294169)

...does happen, that isn't in of itself actually a surprise, especially when one considers that Mr. Acton had an education and a career that requires either an education or above-average ability (for the sum of humans total).

The thing that I find disappointing is how the nature of overvaluation in emerging software markets (ie, any software or service that isn't showing a profit) is reaching unsupportable levels. What I want to know is, have the users of these sites started truly fundamentally changing how they behave in terms of being led down certain directions as a result of their use of software-based services like Facebook, and if so will this reflect their purchasing habits? If the answer to the second part is no, then this is just a huge bubble as there is no real inherent value in social media from an advertiser's point of view. Given that advertising is the primary means of driving revenue these days, that spells disaster.

There was a documentary on PBS the other night about the nature of social media. It first started with the co-opting of youth culture, repackaging it, and reselling it back in the form of MTV in the early noughties, and contrasted to today, where people strive for "Likes" and "subscribers". Some individuals have made personal money successfully, but it doesn't seem to translate well into the corporate profit engine well. Persons and small businesses are unlikely to afford to buy advertising through social media, so I don't see how Facebook et al are going to profit substantially from this bottom-up form of media.

And I expect the bubble to burst. Both for individual companies (Facebook replaced MySpace, something will replace Facebook) and for the industry as a whole.

Re:Rags to riches... (1)

alen (225700) | about 2 months ago | (#46294315)

small businesses are the ones who should be buying ads through social media
regional TV is still too expensive for a small business like a restaurant or a club
you buy followers on twitter and facebook and update the streams for your fans

Re:Rags to riches... (2)

TWX (665546) | about 2 months ago | (#46294539)

On the other hand, buying TV or radio time in one's market is a guaranteed way of knowing that the money that you've spent is paying for something that's being properly implemented, as in locally. It's intuitive that a local affiliate station will only broadcast the ad in its geographic area. It's also fairly easy to confirm that one's ad is being played if one buys time during a given timeslot as one can simply listen to the radio or watch TV to confirm.

Buying online advertising is less intuitive. The ad agency may say that the ad is being sent to this or that geographic area, but there's no obvious way for the customer-business to confirm independently. They're stuck relying on the self-reporting of the ad agency. They're also faced with adblocking software that might retrieve the ad but not display it, skewing the results.

As the Frontline documentary said, it's much easier to confirm the success by bringing someone already-successful in to co-opt a bit of their success, to ride on the coat tails as it were. If you watch Jenna Marbles because you want to be like her or want ladies like her, if she mentions a club or venue or bar that she's hanging out at, you're likely to take notice of that. Some will add that organization to their subscriptions and may even patronize it because of it.

The danger is that it starts switching from grass-roots to astroturfing. Look at the extreme press that the various big Comic Cons get, despite them not really being much about comics and really not having different atmospheres than older conventions and even SCA and renfaires have. It's a feeding-frenzy or a feedback loop, not because there's much to really offer, but because it's massively self-referential, and I have a feeling that it too, will pass. Too many seasons of ticket unavailability will start leaving people to look for other places, and eventually another thing will become hot, and they'll stop selling-out memberships as that new thing co-opts.

Re:Rags to riches... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46294319)

Of course not. At that level of money, it has nothing to do with education or technology, it's about people and knowing the right people and saying and doing the right things.

Re:Rags to riches... (1)

TWX (665546) | about 2 months ago | (#46294559)

At that level of money, it has nothing to do with education or technology, it's about people and knowing the right people and saying and doing the right things.

Nope. One still has to have something to offer in order to command big money. There has to be some defining characteristic to set one apart. Otherwise there'd be a lot more rich sports players, a lot more rich musicians and rappers. Mr. Acton happened to have been in the right place and at the right time, and to also have had that special thing. Had he not had it to build what he built, no one would have given him a cent to buy-out the fruits of his labors.

you're forgetting one thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46296787)

The money that the investment banks use to underwrite the IPOs of these shell companies like FarceBook and Shitter is printed out of thin air. The reason the IBs throw billions of freshly "printed" FRNs at these shell companies is because they need SOMEWHERE to throw their useless paper, and well, these shell companies are a convenient place to do it. The real transaction is billions paid for social proofed (they went through rounds of VC to make sure their books stand up to superficial scrutiny) shell companies that keep of the illusion that the billions that are printed up are worth something real. THATS THE TRANSACTION. They don't actually have any new, useful, and unique technology. They are MEDIA companies, advertisements (aka propaganda) for the "soundness" of the underlying finacial system alone, that's it.

Re:Rags to riches... (2)

Bill Dimm (463823) | about 2 months ago | (#46294499)

it doesn't seem to translate well into the corporate profit engine well

Advertising dollars spent on Facebook may be detrimental [youtube.com] for companies buying "likes" through Facebook (even directly, not 3rd party). When advertisers figure that out, Facebook is done.

Re:Rags to riches... (2)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 2 months ago | (#46294511)

The added value of social media and search engines to advertisers is targeted advertising. Not because these ads result in big changes in purchasing habits of the viewers, but because they allow my product to be offered to people who are potentially interested in it, as opposed to whomever happens to be watching. That makes advertising affordable, especially for small businesses.

I couldn't afford an ad on national TV let alone something on an international medium. I might be able to afford one on local TV but it's unlikely to be cost effective for a niche product like mine. However advertising through Google has proven to be well worth the (small) price. These are new advertising euros that would otherwise not have been spent.

Re:Rags to riches... (1, Insightful)

Reapy (688651) | about 2 months ago | (#46294535)

I like the part where they paint the guy as a food stamp collecting dude, but later in the article he 'lived off the 400,000 he had saved'. That is definitely not a poor person who has 400k laying around in bank accounts, at all.

Re:Rags to riches... (2)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#46294849)

When he was a child he and his mother need food stamps. He later worked at Yahoo, and others, and didn't need food stamps then.

I like the part where you need to not think and just cherry pick so you can deal with the fact you will never have money or accomplish anything.

Every one should take a lesson there. Live frugal and you can save a lot of money. There will always be toys to spend money on, no need to live on the edge of your income.

Re:Rags to riches... (1)

Tom (822) | about 2 months ago | (#46294633)

I wish for the bubble to burst, but I don't think it will.

Here's a dark secret of the advertisement industry: Not only are we not the customers of Facebook, but its product, but just the purpose of the advertisement industry is not to sell the products of its customers - it is to sell its customers more advertisement.

The main product of ad agencies are themselves - telling everyone that they need to advertise, and advertise more, and have you seen your competitors? you have to beat them...

So I expect the bubble to continue, because a billion-dollar industry has an interest in it. Not because the companies buying ad space on Facebook really make a profit doing so, but because the ad agencies selling ad space on Facebook do.

Re:Rags to riches... (1)

gnick (1211984) | about 2 months ago | (#46294707)

...have the users of these sites started truly fundamentally changing how they behave in terms of being led down certain directions as a result of their use of software-based services like Facebook, and if so will this reflect their purchasing habits?

Yes. Even if 5% of FB users have used Candy Crush, and only 10% of those drop $.99 twice a month on "lollipop hammers" or some such, that's still $150M+/year - On an imaginary product with infinite free supply. And if targeted advertising was ineffective, then a lot of very successful companies & governments have wasted a lot of money on it spanning decades.

Decades of repeated success strongly suggests that these companies have found an effective market strategy. That said, I do believe that FB is a wildly over-inflated bubble. WhatsApp even more so.

Confessions Of an Ex-SLASHDOT BETA user (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46294173)

Confessions Of an Ex-SLASHDOT BETA user

Day 1: It wouldn't stop, the redirecting. At first I thought it was malware. Had my first drink in a long time.

Day 2: Barely had the strength to carry on as the BETA REDIRECTIONS continue.. trying not to talk to hallucinations at the bar and in the bathroom which laugh at me about these redirections.

Day 3: Discovered the BETA redirections were random, and while at first they looked somewhat usable, when I looked at me and my monitor screen in the mirror, a horrible woman with flesh hanging off of her body looked back, trying to lead me into a dance as the word BETA appeared across her rancid breasts.

Day 4: These BETA corridors go on FOREVER! On the plus side, I've taken up disassembling vehicles to corner this BETA beast and sacrifice myself rather than lead others to discovering it. I ate some red snow.

Day 5: Finding it harder to concentrate. I've ate some more of the red snow. The taste is starting to grow on me.

Day 6: This typewriter is the only entertainment I have, apart from throwing things at the walls, trying to get some response from the BETA which is now taking over my mind.

Day 7: Hahahahahha! Would you believe it? I'M STILL BEING REDIRECTED TO SLASHDOT BETA PAGES! AHAHhahahaah! Type, type, ding, ding! Wooo!

Day 8: The hallucinations are actually real! Would you believe it? They have offered to help me if I agree to work for them. I'm thinking about patenting this delicious red snow, the taste is unreal!

Day 9: Having black out sessions where I cannot remember large passings of time. Found some makeup, thought I'd paint a joker smile on my face to amuse the people only I can see!

Day 10: Productive today, part of what I wrote for my new screenplay:

I cannot opt out of Slashdot BETA!
I cannot opt out of Slashdot BETA!
I cannot opt out of Slashdot BETA!
I cannot opt out of Slashdot BETA!
I cannot opt out of Slashdot BETA!
I cannot opt out of Slashdot BETA!
I cannot opt out of Slashdot BETA!
I cannot opt out of Slashdot BETA!
I cannot opt out of Slas

(drops of blood on paper)

Worthwhile keeping in mind, (1)

jenningsthecat (1525947) | about 2 months ago | (#46294203)

...that the money for this transaction ultimately comes from all of us. We bought the products and services of the companies whose marketing and advertising rely on Facebook. And those of us who have FB accounts, (along with those of us who don't do our best to stop FB tracking us all over the Web), have made Facebook at least look like it's worth the money those companies hand over to it. That's how Facebook can pay almost a thousand years' of WhatApp's current revenue for the fledgling company.

Re:Worthwhile keeping in mind, (2)

Gunboat_Diplomat (3390511) | about 2 months ago | (#46294255)

...that the money for this transaction ultimately comes from all of us. We bought the products and services of the companies whose marketing and advertising rely on Facebook. And those of us who have FB accounts, (along with those of us who don't do our best to stop FB tracking us all over the Web), have made Facebook at least look like it's worth the money those companies hand over to it. That's how Facebook can pay almost a thousand years' of WhatApp's current revenue for the fledgling company.

A large part of what Facebook is paying for is to not have their position threatened. A large part of what built Facebook was photo sharing, can't risk anyone steal that position from them, which is why they also bought Instagram. Seeing it as a $19B investment to safeguard their $170B valuation makes more sense than trying to find the value in current SnapChat business.

Re:Worthwhile keeping in mind, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46294435)

So?
 
Oh, that's right, it'z teh ebil Fazebooooks!!!!111!!!!!
 
Why didn't you caw on this same thing in yesterday's Google fiber story? After all, Google makes Facebook look totally amateur in comparison. Or how about any Android stories for exactly the same reason?
 
Face it, you pick and choose who's worth keeping an eye on not based on your own metric but based on your own bias. If you were honest and fair about it you'd realize that most of the money flowing through the web is gotten by the same method that you point out Facebook for using.
 
Oh, and Slashdot is also using this model to a point... just something worthwhile keeping in mind, eh?

Re:Worthwhile keeping in mind, (1)

ledow (319597) | about 2 months ago | (#46294473)

Sorry, but I've given Facebook precisely zip.

My having an account is not going to turn into a guilt-trip to make me think I'm funding idiocy like this. Facebook isn't worth what its share prices say its worth, any more than WhatsApp is worth anything even APPROACHING a billion, let alone 19 of them. But it's not my fault.

If someone is stupid enough to give Facebook / Whatsapp this kind of money, it's certainly not someone like me. If they are paying that to try to reach me, more fool them. If you don't notice, you'd be BETTER OFF giving everyone on Facebook, say, £100 and asking them to spend it on your mate's products. It's literally that bad.

And trying to get even just my share of, say, $19bn out of my Facebook account will almost certainly end up in me terminating it. Try putting more than a few ads on the Facebook page and I'm off. As it is the "sponsored" updates are annoying me. You'll be lucky if Facebook's "income" from any one person is even pence, in terms of clicked ads etc., before you even count out costs they've incurred to Facebook.

And I can state with quite a high degree of certainty that all of the companies that have given Facebook money - none of that has come from me. I've never clicked on an ad, let alone the bollocks Facebook ads that can't even be bothered to read my interests that I've taken the time to put on my Facebook account. If they've paid to spam me, I haven't even noticed and if I do notice, I'm off. It's that simple.

But, actually, nobody has made me spend money with them by tapping into the information I provide Facebook at all. In fact, just the opposite. Spamming me for US-based VPS servers just because I have IT-related interest doesn't help a Brit like me at all - but Facebook gets so little other information from me (blocked referrers, et.c) that they have no way to monetise me anyway. They aren't driving me to Amazon to buy products or anything else. I have my family, some photos, a few companies that *I'VE* worked for, and that's about it. I'm infinitely more likely to complain about a company than praise them, so they aren't even getting "social" referrals.

If people are stupid enough to value WhatsApp / Facebook at those amounts, that's their problem - but there is no path, direct or indirect, from the money I spend on Facebook (zero) or WhatsApp (a single £0.69 / annum transaction to buy the app and I haven't even done that, my girlfriend has, to talk with her mates back home) or their affiliates and adverts (zero) to justify any such valuation whatsoever.

Sorry, but you need 27 billion "user-years" of subscriptions to make WhatsApp worth what this says it is. That's everyone on the entire planet buying it religiously for the next three years, and also assuming there is zero cost to provide such service levels at all. It's utter nonsense, and several orders of magnitude out - there are 320m daily active users of WhatsApp. Most of those are probably on the year's free subscription.

Let's call it even 500m people buying the app this year and it's STILL orders of magnitude out. And not even close to what will happen in 5-10 years. And not when Facebook attempt to "monetise" it further.

Sorry, but Facebook makes ZERO from me. If idiots want to pay them money in order to try to get ME to spend money, then well done Facebook. They have truly found a perfect business. But nobody's done that really, and certainly won't get their money's worth even if they did, and that's why Facebook isn't worth what these people claim it to be worth.

Ten-fifteen years ago there was a site called FriendsReunited in the UK. It's a "find your old classmates" kind of site. At its height it was valued and sold for prices in the hundreds of millions (at one point to ITV, a huge broadcaster). It was bigger than Facebook and the only go-to site for that kind of thing. Then it was sold for £5m just a few years later. Now it's virtually dead (because Facebook just walked in and sucked up all its customers) and probably worth a £1m at best, and that just for the brand-name. Nowhere, in all that time, were hundreds of millions made. Or even tens. Hell, it probably operated at a loss for most of that time.

These numbers have no relation to reality. Facebook's imaginary numbers have no relation to reality. That number probably doesn't, and never will, exist in a bank account of Facebook's ever, at all, even cumulatively over the course of many years.

Nobody has actually pumped billions into Facebook expecting to get billions out of people like me. It's all speculative, short-term gains they are after and - because the market gets quite competitive at peak times - the price goes up. And up. And up.

Because, for a brief moment, it's a valuable commodity, and you can make money by being the *penultimate* person to pull out. The last person in the game gets lumbered with a worthless stock in a profitless company just as it begins its market decline. But the others might well make money playing on the DIFFERENCE between what over-valued price they paid versus what over-valued price someone bought it from them for.

But, certainly, any money only exists in the bank accounts of people with no interest in the company's success beyond selling up before they are left holding the hot potato, and the CEO-who-quickly-leaves. And it's not billions. It's not coming from you, me or anyone else using Facebook. It's coming from investors convinced of a return that - if they actually try to seek it - will drive people OFF Facebook entirely, and people who are buying a golden ticket for a million knowing they can sell it for two.

There is no value to Facebook, so you can make one up. It's like one person paying another for a "priceless" painting. There's no such thing as "priceless" for a tangible object, you just run out of buyers. And the last buyer is left holding the same painting as all the previous buyers owned for a while too, but with no-one to sell it to. You wouldn't think so in the auction room, but that's how it is. And if you "bid up" the auctions, the more "value" something is perceived to have, and the more some moron who wants it will pay.

But it doesn't mean that anyone else thinks the painting is worth that much at all.

And people moan about Bitcoin!

Re:Worthwhile keeping in mind, (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#46294955)

IN 2103 Facebook has nearly 8 billion in revenue and about 2.5 billion in operation income..
In one year it's profit went from 60 million to 580 million.

I'm sorry, you were saying Facebook Doesn't make any money?

IF you use faebook, then you are making facebook money.
Not that it's right or wrong to use facebook.

Re:Worthwhile keeping in mind, (1)

ledow (319597) | about 2 months ago | (#46295105)

A couple of dollars, per quarter, per user. From advertisting. Sure, there are users giving money to Facebook directly but - NOT ME. And not most people, obviously.

http://venturebeat.com/2013/10... [venturebeat.com]

The money comes from advertisers. Do those advertisers make that money from users? Pretty much no. They might think that, but they aren't. We're not giving advertiser's money, lots more money than we are directly pumping into Facebook by buying in-game currency etc.

Someone else is. Businesses are. Whether they get a return on that is, like Google ad revenue, extremely hard to determine but incredibly unlikely for the majority of them.

And, like I say, if that's how they are using me to make money - I don't click on adverts, don't let ad referrals propagate back to sellers I was using anyway, and if they push too much (no way they are showing the average user enough adverts to justify a dollar from each of them per quarter) they will kill the business flat.

In case you haven't noticed - most places that spend money on advertising just don't see it back in increased revenue at all. Groupon can show you that. And almost every Facebook ad I see is small-fry Google-ad territory, where I doubt they even had enough free money to advertise in the first place, not "Coke" or "Pepsi" or "Microsoft" doing it.

*I'm* not paying for Facebook at all. Stupid advertisers that won't see their money back - ever - are. It doesn't mean that's not how Google are funded either. But the advertisers that have paid to get to me, and the things I do on Facebook, generate no money whatsoever - and certainly not once you count profit instead of revenue (income). Facebook is not free to run. And for sure I'm costing it more than a dollar per quarter.

Re:Worthwhile keeping in mind, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46295143)

You sure do like to hear yourself talk, eh?

Re:Worthwhile keeping in mind, (1)

3.5 stripes (578410) | about 2 months ago | (#46295345)

They don't make money from you, they make money from selling your data to other companies... that's why user numbers are important!

leonard cohen appointed ministrel of circumstance (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46294207)

hard to understand my .asp? http://youtu.be/pWih_JOF_f8 spiritual giants http://youtu.be/-RIBDA3WfT4 now we're part of the poem too?

Web Bubble 2.0 (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46294209)

Nineteen billion for a glorified instant messenger.

Re:Web Bubble 2.0 (1)

alen (225700) | about 2 months ago | (#46294327)

facebook also has a IM
how would it cost them to market it until they get over 450 million users? or just buy a company

Re:Web Bubble 2.0 (2)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 2 months ago | (#46294439)

That was exactly the motivation behind the offer for SnapChat: billions of $ for a service that could be replicated with little effort on Facebook's existing platforms. It was not the service or the tech they were after, but the users, and specifically the younger crowd. Same motivation behind Google's offer. It's the "eyeballs" of the 90s all over again.

Re:Web Bubble 2.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46294355)

I remember back in Grad school. A glorified BBS called America online merged with Time Warner.

it is crazy that it is happening again.

Re:Web Bubble 2.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46294367)

No shit. I'd say fuck the 'retention bonus' and take the 4 billion cash and tell them to fuck off and start another business without the fags in Silicon Valley that are 'too smart to hire others outside their comfort zone' (IE: anyone over-40, anyone who didn't go to Stanford).

fags of silicon valley (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46295815)

lulz! those "fags" come here too, dipshit.

Re:Web Bubble 2.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46294609)

Well, we now know that one user is worth at least $42 to Facebook.

Given that there's really very little else of value here, the 450 million users really are what Facebook were buying.

Oh for fucks sake (1)

musmax (1029830) | about 2 months ago | (#46294219)

Success is always attributed to the extraordinary skill and foresight of the winner: http://psychology.about.com/od... [about.com]. Queue the endless blogs and Forbes' deep analysis heaping accolades on Jan and his demonstrable $16B greatness. Good on Jan for striking it lucky, spare a thought for the thousands, just as worthy, that the dice did not favor, nothing more nothing less.

He's obviously unqualified. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46294387)

Acton — himself a former Apple engineer — applied for jobs at both Twitter and Facebook ...

He obviously one of those unqualifed American workers that's too stupid. That's why Twitter and Facebook need those H1-Bs.

Re:Oh for fucks sake (1)

stenvar (2789879) | about 2 months ago | (#46294455)

Success is always attributed to the extraordinary skill and foresight of the winner

And that's a correct thing to do in business. With few exceptions, extraordinary skill and foresight are necessary to win big in business, but they are not sufficient; the kind of skills that matter, however, may not be what you personally value or recognize.

Good on Jan for striking it lucky, spare a thought for the thousands, just as worthy, that the dice did not favor, nothing more nothing less.

Getting $19 billion for the company involves a great deal of luck, but he is seeing only a fraction of it. But whatever he is getting, his skills pretty much assured him wealth if he made the right choices.

Achieving a net worth of several million dollars does not require luck, and it usually doesn't even require extraordinary skills.

Re:Oh for fucks sake (1)

D-Fly (7665) | about 2 months ago | (#46296617)

As you say, cue the fawning [forbes.com] Forbes ''analysis.'' [forbes.com]

The fact that Jan was on food stamps just a couple of years ago and now is worth something like 10 billion dollars on paper should say...something to all of the right wing assholes who hate on the poor for being shiftless losers, and who try to destroy the tiny little safety nets this country has left for people on the edge of starvation or homelessness.

Perspective: Inside Cisco's eavesdropping apparatu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46294225)

Perspective: Inside Cisco's eavesdropping apparatus

April 21, 2003 4:00 AM PDT
OLD ARTICLE but it still RINGS TRUE today!

http://news.cnet.com/2010-1071... [cnet.com]

By Declan McCullagh

        "Cisco Systems has created a more efficient and targeted way for police and intelligence agencies to eavesdrop on people whose Internet service provider uses their company's routers.

        The company recently published a proposal that describes how it plans to embed "lawful interception" capability into its products. Among the highlights: Eavesdropping "must be undetectable," and multiple police agencies conducting simultaneous wiretaps must not learn of one another. If an Internet provider uses encryption to preserve its customers' privacy and has access to the encryption keys, it must turn over the intercepted communications to police in a descrambled form.

        Cisco's decision to begin offering "lawful interception" capability as an option to its customers could turn out to be either good or bad news for privacy.

        Because Cisco's routers currently aren't designed to target an individual, it's easy for an Internet service provider (ISP) to comply with a police request today by turning over all the traffic that flows through a router or switch. Cisco's "lawful interception" capability thus might help limit the amount of data that gets scooped up in the process.

        On the other hand, the argument that it hinders privacy goes like this: By making wiretapping more efficient, Cisco will permit governments in other countries--where court oversight of police eavesdropping is even more limited than in the United States--snoop on far more communications than they could have otherwise.

        Marc Rotenberg, head of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, says: "I don't see why the technical community should hardwire surveillance standards and not also hardwire accountability standards like audit logs and public reporting. The laws that permit 'lawful interception' typically incorporate both components--the (interception) authority and the means of oversight--but the (Cisco) implementation seems to have only the surveillance component. That is no guarantee that the authority will be used in a 'lawful' manner."

        U.S. history provides many examples of government and police agencies conducting illegal wiretaps. The FBI unlawfully spied on Eleanor Roosevelt, Martin Luther King Jr., feminists, gay rights leaders and Catholic priests. During its dark days, the bureau used secret files and hidden microphones to blackmail the Kennedy brothers, sway the Supreme Court and influence presidential elections. Cisco's Internet draft may be titled "lawful interception," but there's no guarantee that the capability will always be used legally.

        Still, if you don't like Cisco's decision, remember that they're not the ones doing the snooping. Cisco is responding to its customers' requests, and if they don't, other hardware vendors will.

        Cisco's Internet draft may be titled "lawful interception," but there's no guarantee that the capability will always be used legally.

        If you're looking for someone to blame, consider Attorney General John Ashcroft, who asked for and received sweeping surveillance powers in the USA Patriot Act, along with your elected representatives in Congress, who gave those powers to him with virtually no debate.

        I talked with Fred Baker, a Cisco fellow and former chairman of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), about his work on the "lawful interception" draft.

        Q: Why did Cisco decide to build "lawful interception" into its products? What prompted this?
        A: Cisco's customers, not just in United States but in many countries, are finding themselves served with subpoenas to mandate lawful intercept functionality. Cisco received requests from its customers for this capability.

        When I found out about the project, I asked to be involved because I wanted to ensure that it was done in a manner that was as close to balanced as I could get. From an engineering perspective, the easiest thing is to give everything to law enforcement and let them sort it out. But I wanted to do better than that.

        When was that?
        The actual development of this document started probably seven to eight months ago.

        What was the reaction of the Internet community and the IETF after you released the draft?
        I've seen very little reaction so far. We have been contacted by Verisign, with which we had an NDA relationship. They said, "We'd like to work with you on this." That's about all we've had. John Gilmore (of the Electronic Frontier Foundation) posted comments to an IETF mailing list. He wanted to ensure that the capability would be as difficult to use as possible.

        When will Cisco's customers be able to buy "lawful interception" products or an upgrade?
        We haven't yet announced anything. Any product that a service provider is likely to purchase will have an option to provide lawful interception. That's not for all of our products but for a fairly broad subset.

        We're in the process of doing early field trials on that capability. In most cases it's a software upgrade. What we're doing is putting the capability in a separate image so you know what you're getting when you get it. Under U.S. law, if you have that ability, you could be required to use it. Our service provider customers have asked us not to put it in the standard image, so that they can't be forced to use it.

        How much will it cost?
        We haven't announced that. There was some discussion at some point about putting in a nuisance fee.

        What percentage of your customers who have asked for "lawful interception" capability are within the United States?
        We have service provider customers in a number of countries that have asked us for it. Some have been more insistent than others.

        Do you have any moral problems with helping to make surveillance technology more efficient?
        I have some moral and ethical issues, but I think quite frankly that the place to argue this is in Congress and in the courtroom, not a service provider's machine room when he's staring down the barrel of a subpoena.

        There are two sides. One is that Cisco as a company needs to let its customers abide by the law. The other is the moral and ethical issues. There are two very separate questions.

        The current draft does not include an audit trail. Could you do that by having your equipment digitally sign a file that says who's been intercepted and for how long? That could be turned over to a judge. It could indicate whether the cops were or weren't staying within the bounds of the law.
        I'm not entirely sure that the machine we're looking at could make that assurance... In fact, the way lawful interception works, a warrant comes out saying, "We want to look at a person." That's the way it works in Europe, the United States, Australia and in other western countries. The quest then becomes figuring out which equipment a person is reasonably likely to use, and it becomes law enforcement's responsibility to discard any information that's irrelevant to the warrant. That kind of a thing would probably be maintained on the mediation device.

        Who controls the mediation device?
        The Internet provider. The mediation device picks out the subset that relates to a particular warrant.

        A few years ago (in RFC 2804) the IETF rejected the idea of building eavesdropping capability into Internet protocols. The FBI supported the idea, but the IETF said, no way. You were chair of the IETF at the time. How do you reconcile your proposal with the decision made then?
        I thought that what the IETF decided to do was actually the right thing to decide. What it said is that the IETF would not modify protocols that were designed for some other purpose in order to support lawful interception.

        Will you discuss this at the next IETF meeting in Austria in July?
        We're hoping for community review. If people see any problems with what we're doing on a technical level, we're all ears. We want to produce the best possible capability in terms of security and the capability required.

        Have you had requests for this capability, directly or indirectly, from government agencies?
        Yes and no. We got the request from our customers. The laws relate to the ISPs, which are our customers. Certainly, if we get a request from our customers that we can't support, there are penalties that accrue.

        We've had direct contact with the FBI and other agencies. When I was in Holland I (spoke at a conference with the head of the equivalent of the country's Central Intelligence Agency). The fact that he came out and said something made the 8 o'clock news. I had a meeting with him and some of his people a few days later to figure out what he wanted and what he intended to do with this. As an engineer I wanted to understand a customer's problem.

        We've had discussions with government agencies, but (they're generally not) asking us to build a product. They do that with ISPs, who then come to us.

        What other companies are going a similar route?
        We're a little bit more open than everyone else. It really wouldn't be appropriate for me to talk about other companies. It's not like we're coming out and saying, "Hey, this is the reason you should buy a Cisco router." This is something we're doing because our customers want it.

        What do you think of governments with scant respect for privacy rights using "lawful interception" technology to become more efficient eavesdroppers? Do you ever stay up late at night worrying about what they might do with it?
        Of course I do. But that problem is the reason I got involved. We have some capabilities in some of our equipment that will allow you to take all the traffic that goes across an interface and send it to another interface. Right now that is used in some cases as a lawful interception technology.

        When we first started talking, some engineers said, "Let's turn this on and use that." I said, "Heavens no, if we can narrow the range of information, let's do it." Let's let our customers meet their requirements in as privacy-protecting a way as possible. So yes, there's a conflict, but the conflict is why I got involved.

        Biography
        Declan McCullagh is CNET News.com's chief political correspondent. He spent more than a decade in Washington, D.C., chronicling the busy intersection between technology and politics. Previously, he was the Washington bureau chief for Wired News, and a reporter for Time.com, Time magazine and HotWired. McCullagh has taught journalism at American University and been an adjunct professor at Case Western University."

        declan.mccullagh@cnet.com
        http://news.cnet.com/2016-1071... [cnet.com]
        http://news.cnet.com/Perspecti... [cnet.com]
        http://www.epic.org/ [epic.org]
        http://newsroom.cisco.com/dlls... [cisco.com]
        http://www.ietf.org/ [ietf.org]
        http://www.faqs.org/rfcs/rfc28... [faqs.org]
        http://www.mccullagh.org/ [mccullagh.org]

= Archived Fair Use / Important Articles Shouldn't Disappear!

Yeah, same old story (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46294229)

The jewish guy who used to "collect food stamps" all of a sudden finds venture capitalists investing money in his company, his app comes preinstalled in several smartphones, and finally becomes a billionaire after another jewish guy has bought his company for a ridiculous amount of money. Oh, and what's this revolutionary app all about? Texting.

Ok fine. Anything else that we haven't already heard of?

Re:Yeah, same old story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46294741)

It this you? http://www.moneyandshit.com/wp... [moneyandshit.com]

Re:Yeah, same old story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46295011)

Trying to ridicule a commenter doesn't magically weakens his/her point.
We're on Slashdot, not on a celebrity gossip website.

Not a bad deal for Facebook (4, Insightful)

rjstanford (69735) | about 2 months ago | (#46294249)

Facebook is going mobile - as are many (most) other players. This is one of the few mobile messaging networks that has a reach big enough to pull users away from Facebook. $19B is a reasonableamount of money to spend on defense to make a network that - internationally - is bigger than Twitter disappear as a risk.

Its not the revenue today, its the customer base (7% of the world population are regular users and its still growing rapidly). We're not used to international phenomenons like this, so of course the numbers look huge as absolutes. $38/customer is still a lot for a pure acquisition, so if they hadn't become large enough to be a credible threat they'd likely never have seen that much, but they did... and the rest is history.

Re:Not a bad deal for Facebook (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46294467)

I can't see how it's a defense at all. People use WhatsApp because it isn't Facebook.
Just wait and watch FB fuck up WhatsApp and start haemorhaging users to whatever is going to spring up as the next IM du jour.
And then what? How many times will FB's shareholders stand having billions pissed away in desparation?
 

Re:Not a bad deal for Facebook (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46294491)

BitTorrent is bigger than Twitter. Twitter isn't that big, it's just mostly visible to the public.

Re:Not a bad deal for Facebook (1)

rjstanford (69735) | about 2 months ago | (#46294619)

BitTorrent is bigger than Twitter. Twitter isn't that big, it's just mostly visible to the public.

Having 10-11% of the living population of the entire human race using your platform on a regular basis (best guess removing bots, etc) "isn't that big" to you?

What, pray tell, would be?

Re:Not a bad deal for Facebook (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46294715)

Twitter has 200 million users. You need to check your math.

Re:Not a bad deal for Facebook (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46294867)

Having 10-11% of the living population of the entire human race using your platform on a regular basis (best guess removing bots, etc) "isn't that big" to you?

No.

Perspective. We're in an industry where the majority of people who own computers are and always have been on Windows (yes, even still - though I expect a few more years and that'll be over because phones). Where nearly everyone who connects to the Internet is searching for porn with Google.

Twitter... Is simply not big.

Re:Not a bad deal for Facebook (1)

DogDude (805747) | about 2 months ago | (#46294621)

$19B is a reasonableamount of money to spend on defense to make a network that - internationally - is bigger than Twitter disappear as a risk.

It's so big that nobody I know has ever heard of it. That's pretty amazing.

Re:Not a bad deal for Facebook (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46296303)

It's so big that nobody I know has ever heard of it. That's pretty amazing.

Just because you're ignorant doesn't mean that others are.

Re:Not a bad deal for Facebook (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 2 months ago | (#46296489)

Its not the revenue today, its the customer base (7% of the world population are regular users and its still growing rapidly). We're not used to thinking like businessmen, thinking strategically, or planning ahead

There, FTFY.
 
And really, that's the issue in a lot of comments on business topics here on Slashdot - when it come to business, most of the denizens making comments are the equivalent of virgin celibate priests writing sex advice columns.

$19 billion not for WhatsApp (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46294265)

They paid this amount for 450+ million users database from around the world their phone numbers, IMEI, MAC addresses, contact lists, ..... list goes on.

Re:$19 billion not for WhatsApp (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | about 2 months ago | (#46295085)

What happens to people who used WhatsApp so they could IM on their phone, without FB getting their phone number? How do I as a user prevent FB from getting my phone number now? Is it too late to delete the app from my phone and request record of it deleted from their service?

Does it matter because any of my friends have my phone number and are using WhatsApp and thus FB will get it from them if not from me?

Has that ship sailed?

Terrible trend (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46294299)

This tend of mobile only apps really needs to stop. Getting so annoyed that none of these popular apps have web versions. Seriously, just make a web version, or use jabber or something that I can connect to with my computer.

Oh please (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46294567)

Get a life!

Re:Terrible trend (1)

baka_toroi (1194359) | about 2 months ago | (#46294629)

I agree. It's so fucking ridiculous I have to use my tiny and shitty touchscreen when I have a full-sized keyboard in front of me.

I ended up using a keyboard server (through wi-fi) in order to type on my PC.

Fuck Beta already!!!!!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46294329)

Beta sux!!!!!

The way is shut. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46294339)

The way is shut.

It was made by those who are Dead,
and the Dead keep it, until the time comes.

The way is shut.

why do people use WhatsApp? (2)

stenvar (2789879) | about 2 months ago | (#46294399)

I don't get it. Even my shitty low-end cellular plan has unlimited texting, and WhatsApp doesn't seem to be doing much else. I can't even take the WhatsApp account with me when I change phone numbers. And WhatsApp is a big, bloated application.

Why do people actually use WhatsApp?

Re:why do people use WhatsApp? (1)

kaiser423 (828989) | about 2 months ago | (#46294483)

Free international texting. In some areas of the globe it's use is near universal, from grandmas to the little kids. In the Middle East and parts of Africa and Asia, a WhatsApp account is literally on over 75% of smart phones.

Re:why do people use WhatsApp? (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 2 months ago | (#46295059)

Free international texting. In some areas of the globe it's use is near universal, from grandmas to the little kids. In the Middle East and parts of Africa and Asia, a WhatsApp account is literally on over 75% of smart phones.

Interesting, I'd never heard of the app till this story broke about the large $$$ sale.

So, is this more of a non-US popular app, or is it popular in parts of the US too?

Re:why do people use WhatsApp? (3)

Pope (17780) | about 2 months ago | (#46294551)

Not everyone has your texting plan. WhatsApp does group chats very well. That's enough for people to find it useful.

Re:why do people use WhatsApp? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46294583)

Sending international text messages.
This may be hard to understand for people who never leave their little town.

Re: why do people use WhatsApp? (1)

stenvar (2789879) | about 2 months ago | (#46295487)

Those of us who actually do leave our little towns are generally smart enough to figure out that there are plenty of better ways to do free international messaging.

Re:why do people use WhatsApp? (1)

rgbscan (321794) | about 2 months ago | (#46294603)

Its just an instant messenger. Not everyone has unlimited, or international texting. Using the data plan often makes more sense.

Re:why do people use WhatsApp? (1)

Ecuador (740021) | about 2 months ago | (#46296819)

I have unlimited texting in the UK, but most of my friends are in various countries. I don't like IMs, but when a friend suggested that there is an IM that requires no signup and shows you directly which of your phone contacts are on, I tried it out. So, it works well and you can post pictures and sound into the conversation, hence much better than SMS.

Overpriced? (0)

MellowBob (2933537) | about 2 months ago | (#46294543)

In residential rental real estate, the rule of thumb is monthly revenue of 1% of the property or annually, 1 eighth of the property's value. The biggest companies like Exxon, Walmart, and Apple have a revenue to value ratio close to 1:1. Their last year's revenue is one thousandths of the purchase price.

Hey, Facebook, give me a million bucks and I'll give you 1,000 each year. Heck, I'll double it, $2,000 next year.

Re:Overpriced? (2)

rjstanford (69735) | about 2 months ago | (#46294641)

And yet you often see very large parcels of empty land going for millions of dollars. Why? Because many developers understand that its not necessarily the current income that a property produces, but its income potential that you're buying. Sure, there's a discount for buying "potential" rather than "actual" earnings... but an empty tract of land is far from worthless, even if its bringing in less in revenue (cows/towers/etc) than its costing in taxes.

That's what we have with WhatsApp - one of the largest, most attractive "tracts of land" on the internet, currently making little to no revenue. That doesn't mean it never will.

Re:Overpriced? (1)

MellowBob (2933537) | about 2 months ago | (#46295267)

True, but this is at least partially developed and Facebook isn't creating something completely new, although integrating the technology into FB might be the "developing". This might be more like the 10 store strip mall being turned into the Mall of America. FB is paying the full price for Mall of America just to get the revenue of a family run property.

I don't see how they can increase the revenue 100x or more (using the real estate metaphor) as I'm guessing the data mining from that would overlap their current business. My current ability is only getting 10-20x on CD, DVD, and toys; and that's why they're the media empire billionaires.

There goes the farm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46294575)

Time to purge Whatsapp and all its data from your smartphone. Before Zuck sucks it all up and starts making money by pestering me.

Cause don't you buy into all that "the company will continue operating independently and with its current business model" crap. As soon as Zuck's minions get their paws on the user database. it will be monetized and you will start getting bombarded by all sorts of ads at wee hours of the day. Sent by some Kolkatta slum dweller who's being paid $0.02 per call to do so all day long.

dumb selection bias (3, Insightful)

Tom (822) | about 2 months ago | (#46294589)

I can't hear the "he started out poor" line anymore.

Yes, one in a million poor people make it. So what?

No one noticed the irony... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46294625)

about Koum's parents rarely talking on the phone in case someone was listening?

Interesting hiring prejudice? (1)

FilmedInNoir (1392323) | about 2 months ago | (#46294769)

> Another reader points out the interesting fact that "Acton — himself a former Apple engineer — applied for jobs at both Twitter and Facebook way before WhatsApp > became a wildly popular mobile app. Both times he was rejected." Maybe because Acton is 42.

Re:Interesting hiring prejudice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46296555)

Younger people are cheaper, more likely to be convinced to work unpaid overtime, and disposable. Hiring an Acton costs money. Money is the factor, age is just correlated.

How much, you say? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46295323)

How Jan Koum Steered WhatsApp Into $16B Facebook Deal

Jan Koum picked a meaningful spot to sign the $19 billion deal to sell...

I use Whatsapp... (1)

bayankaran (446245) | about 2 months ago | (#46295359)

I use Whatsapp. Its useful - especially when you don't have to block ads.
Facebook gets an address book and can mine whatever the user types into Whatsapp to generate sophisticated profiles of their users. At some stage your profile will be sharper than your friends/relatives know about you, even you about yourself. This can be used for showing ads.
Here is the issue...where will you show ads?
Mobile has a serious real estate issue. A decent text ad - like the GMAIL ads - will not work as you cannot cram many characters into a small space. What will work is annoying flashy ads, which irritate everyone.
Showing ads on websites...we are at a saturation point. And Facebook will have to compete with Google - the biggest ad agency in this planet.
Whatsapp and Tumblr were seriously overpriced. I hope the founders will use some of the proceeds for altruistic causes, that's what the world needs...not more ads.

wow.. i use AIM (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46296783)

really... this is a new thing? when they say cross platform, i suppose they mean cross mobile platform.. so no chatting with computers at the moment

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