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…It’s Things Thursday: Facebook Gifts?

Facebook Gifts Blue Spheres

Today, the ‘book and the ‘soft joined forces, and Microsoft gave Facebook $240 million at a valuation of $15 billion for an expansion of their advertising partnership.

$15 billion?

A site that lets people poke each other and share pictures is worth $15 billion?

Yes; and here’s why: Facebook prints money.

Facebook has created a product that turns a 99.99% profit, has incredibly (almost infinitely) high demand, and costs nothing to make.

What is this mystery product?

Facebook Gifts.

What are Facebook Gifts?

“Facebook Gifts allows you to send personalized messages with icons to your friends on Facebook.”

Basically a .gif with a message, these “Gifts” are a perfect example of why Facebook is worth $15 billion (and probably even more).

Facebook Gift Unicorn

Take, for example, today’s Gift: A Unicorn.

I’m going to go ahead and assume that with a few MS Paint skills and a spare hour, I could crank out the unicorn image that they’re using.

And if I were Facebook, and I did go ahead and create this unicorn Gift; how much would I expect to get paid for my hour of work?

$10 million.

That’s right, Facebook will eventually make $10 million from this crappy unicorn .gif.

Not bad for an hour’s work.

Why?

I have no idea.

To clarify: I do know why they’ll make $10 million: Because people will eventually buy 10,000,000 of these crappy unicorns. What I don’t know is why people will eventually buy 10,000,000 of these crappy unicorns. I mean, it is a crappy unicorn after all.

I think part of the reason why Facebook can sell so many of these things is that they have hit upon the perfect price point. Users don’t see $1 as being a lot of money, so they’ll gladly skip their next iTunes download to let their friend know that they care.

If Gifts were free, no one would want one. You’d give them to your friends, and they’d simply add them to the pile of other free gifts. Put a $1 price tag on the Gift however, and suddenly, giving a gift is a momentous occasion. You’re spending your hard earned cash, and sending your friend something of value.

And hey, it’s not like everyone else is going to get the same one, right? Aren’t they at least part of a limited edition?

Yes; if you consider 10,000,000 to be a limited edition.

That’s right, 9.999,999 other people are going to get that very same ‘limited edition’ unicorn, and Facebook is going to get 10,000,000 one dollar bills added to their bank account.

Amazing.

Like I said, they print money.

And despite my despising of the Facebook Gift idea, I will say this: I’ll gladly plop down a hard earned Washington for one of these the day Facebook comes out with a Gift in the shape of a T-Shirt that says: “My friend just spent $1, and all I got was this lousy Gift”.

Hey, a guy can dream…

[Facebook]

…Facebook isn’t MySpace?

MySpaceBook

When Facebook first arrived, it was great. You used it to talk with your friends, you used it to poke someone if you wanted to say hi but didn’t want to say much else, and you used it to join groups of people with similar interests.

Then, pictures came along, and suddenly, you could even see what your friends were doing.

Everything was great. You could keep in touch with your friends (even the ones half way across the country), there weren’t a lot of ads, and it wasn’t MySpace.

Then, things started to fall apart.

Facebook opened up its API, and in my opinion, the entire site went down the drain (and quickly).

It became a collection of random widgets and wingdings, and I now no longer want to go to the site. I don’t care if a “zombie” friend just bit me; I don’t care what you posted on your friend’s Graffiti wall (that looks like it was made with MS Paint); and I certainly don’t want you to buy me a fake drink.

I just want to see what you did, what you’re doing, and what you’re going to do. Sadly, each day it’s getting harder and harder to do so.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I understand the Mr. Zuckerberg is trying to value his company at $15 Billion (That’s right, billion with a B.), and to do so he’s got to show that it can make money; but I think that at some point along its growth curve, Facebook forgot what made people switch: It wasn’t MySpace.

MySpace was messy and noisy and dirty. Facebook was clean and quiet and simple. You signed on, you sent a few messages, and you were done.

Sadly, applications have ruined all that, and unless Facebook can find a way of monetizing without clutterizing, I think it’s going to be tough times for the Wonder Company. (Though I still think that in the end, Mark is going to make off like a bandit regardless of what happens to the site. Hellooooo billionaire status.)

Thankfully, at least a few people agree. Read/Write Web recently wrote a post titled “Facebook: What If More Is Less?”, and in the post, they spend a majority of the time going over many of the same problems that I have just described.

In essence, Facebook has turned into a love it or hate it site, and the haters are gaining ground.

So what do you think? Has Facebook lost what made it so special, or have I just lost my argument? Let me know below.

[Read/Write Web – Facebook: What If Less Is More?]

[Facebook]

[MySpace]

…Painting with MS paint is hard?

Venice MS Paint

This picture of Venice might be beautiful, but what makes it unique is the fact that the artist created it using only MS Paint (and 500 hours of time). I only hoped he saved frequently, because a blue screen of death on something like this can kill a man.

[deviantART]

[Via: Digg]