20 Ways Facebook Can Make Billions

Following up on my article from yesterday afternoon where I suggested that Facebook should begin focusing on monetization, I figured it would be a good time to suggest at least 20 ways that Facebook could make billions. While I’m critical of the company’s existing monetization strategy, the company is clearly growth oriented and they are in the enviable position of figuring out a way to make billions of dollars. Below are a few ways that we’ve come up with for Facebook to make money.

Improve Their Advertising Platform

Facebook has a fairly robust advertising platform but anybody that has used it knows that the reporting features are significantly lacking. Also it is apparently impossible to modify approved advertisements. There is probably a very long list of how Facebook can improve their advertising platform but it’s clear that improvements would significantly boost revenue from the company. Considering that the company was expected to generate around $250 – $300 million last year, $1 billion is easily within reach if they improve their advertising platform.

Charge Users for the Service

This is something that always gets discussed when discussing monetization for Facebook. This is also one route that Facebook will most likely not take. After almost 6 years of operating a free platform, charging for the service is absolutely ridiculous. What’s not ridiculous is providing a value added service but I’m not quite sure what that value added would be. Would it be an email service? Doubtful. What value added services do you think Facebook could charge for?

Charge Developers for API Calls

When Facebook launched the platform last year they included a sentence in their terms that gives the company the right to charge for API calls in the future. While that hasn’t happened yet this is definitely a possibility and a quick route to cash. The only problem with this is that it could become a barrier to entry for new developers. Facebook needs to be as developer friendly as possible if they are going to become the next Google.

Charge for Data Services

Anybody in the world would love the opportunity to troll around the Facebook databases. While Facebook will never grant outsiders access to much of the private data on the site, they could charge market research companies to have access to anonymous data sets. While this would compete with external research companies, this would be highly profitable. It would also be highly controversial as user privacy would be heavily scrutinized if the company started selling activity and demographic data.

Sell Water

This was a joke that I mentioned this morning but the point is that Facebook could market practically any product with the amount of traffic they have. Whether it’s clothing, food, or any other product, Facebook has one of the largest marketing channels in the world. They could easily use that channel to launch any product. How does a Facebook cologne sound to you? Not sure what it would smell like but Facebook could sell it if they wanted.

Fan Gear

This goes along with the last item. How many people in the world do you think would wear a Facebook t-shirt? If Facebook set up their own site for buying “Facebook gear”, I’m sure they could rapidly sell millions of dollars in gear. While it would be tacky, it would be a pretty sizeable business for one employee to manage.

Sell Technology Products

I read somewhere today that Google is considering selling a router. I’m sure there are a ton of people that would buy a Facebook laptop, or a wireless router. Technology is a great next step for the Internet company. Then again building hardware is not exactly the company’s core expertise. I’m sure Dell or HP would gladly set up a partnership with the company to sell Facebook braded products.