Facebook numbers booming since Feeds launch

When Facebook launched News Feeds and Mini Feeds over a month ago without giving users any advance notice, the user community pitched a fit over privacy concerns. Lost in the noise perhaps, some analysts applauded the move at the time because they believed the changes actually made the site better for users. Despite the possibility that feeds would cause page views to suffer in the short term, Mark Zuckerberg and the team firmly believed that the new features would “increase information flow” (as always) and ultimately increase page views.

Well, it appears they were right. According to Alexa, Facebook’s page view numbers, which have been flat all of 2006, have dramatically increased by over 40% in the last month alone.

Those are big numbers (despite Facebook’s inherently seasonal use patterns) (ironically total uniques were actually down from Aug to Sept). Facebook’s strategy of bringing more information to users via social feeds is working. Not only have the revolts subsided–but feature use has increased.

This shot in the arm couldn’t come at a better time for Facebook’s business. In particular, these new numbers should strengthen its negotiating position with potential acquirers, like Yahoo. In fact, just this morning Kevin Delaney and Rebecca Buckman at the Wall Street Journal wrote,

Facebook’s business picked up over the past month after the introduction of some new features on its site, making the company more confident about its prospects, say some of the people familiar with the matter. Google’s deal for YouTube also indicates a robust mergers-and-acquisition climate for Internet companies that could broaden Facebook’s options, these people say.

These factors reduce the incentives for Facebook’s management, which includes founder and Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg, 22 years old, to sell the company now.

Despite the bungled release, the Feeds features, which were in development for over a year, appear to be very successful. While Feeds definitely raised new privacy concerns within the user community, they are now enjoying widespread acceptance and use, and are indeed changing the way students get information on and share information with friends.

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