In the beginning, Facebook was only accessible to students at a few elite schools. As it grew, it opened its doors to everyone in college. Then to everyone in high school. Then to everyone in a company. All in all, it was a very successful user acquisition strategy.
Now, with nearly 10 million members and near total penetration of the college market, unrestricted access to Facebook is coming soon.
According to AdAge,
“Whenever we’ve opened our network, our existing members have reacted negatively, even though they’ve always adjusted,” [a company spokeswoman] said. “We’re sure this will be no different, but we think it’s in the best interest of the community.”
I’m sure the first thing people will do is compare Facebook to MySpace. However, unlike MySpace, Facebook has pretty good privacy controls in place that a reasonable number of people use. New people will only be able to see others in their geographical network. So unless college students join geographical networks in addition to their college networks, they should still be inaccessible to the random searcher.
More on this as it actually happens…