Is Privacy Facebook’s Fatal Flaw?

Facebook’s Fatal Flaw: There’s a high stakes gamble going on right now between Google and Facebook. The bet Google is making is that people really do value “privacy,” at least some conception of it. Facebook, on the other hand, essentially wants to redefine privacy. Mark Zuckerberg has gotten heat for his contention that privacy, at least as we used to know it, is essentially dead. In his unblinking world view, people gain far more benefits out of sharing information about themselves than the downsides. Social makes just about every product better, so it should be the default. Facebook’s product decisions reflect this mentality. Where it’s fallen short, at least in perception, is doing this in an upfront manner. Google is wagering people still want some zones of privacy. As VC Mark Suster told us, Facebook makes it hard to keep photos from that Vegas weekend from your colleagues. Google+ is designed to make this very easy. There’s no doubt Facebook will copy many of the most popular features on Google+, but I doubt it will significantly alter its aversion to traditional privacy. At PC World, Eric Mack predicts this will be its undoing. I doubt it, so long as Facebook can continue to show there are far more positives out of sharing than negatives.

Cruel Fate: The agency world is one tough place. It’s not easy to start up a new shop and succeed. Take the case of Mir, a digital production shop that gained a fair amount of buzz. Just last month Mir was the subject of a splashy Adweek profile video hailing it as a “new model agency.” Now it’s closed for business.

Stat of the Day: There are now more devices connected to the Internet than there are people on the planet, according to Cisco.

Is Google+ a Juggernaut?: There’s little doubt that Google’s latest social network play is its strongest. But what about the wider world? The first independent numbers are rolling in. Experian Hitwise reports that Google+ got 1.8 million visits last week, ranking it as a pedestrian No. 42 among social networks. It might not be time to cue the sad trombone, because Google+ has barely been widely available for a week. One of the most interesting nuggets is that the majority of Google+’s traffic came via Google properties. That’s Google’s trump card: its enormous reach.

Twitter Cashes In: It’s hard not to shake your head at what’s going on with the money thrown at tech companies nowadays. The good news, as Barry Diller said at SXSW, is the people who will lose money can afford it. Twitter is in the midst of closing a mind-boggling $800 million in funding that will — no lie — earmark $400 million for current employees and investors. Twitter will be valued at $8 billion, double what it was valued a year ago. All this for a company that is forecast to do $150 million in revenue this year. Maybe Shuster is right that the marketing world shouldn’t worry about the bubble, but it’s hard to suspend disbelief at some of the stuff going on right now.

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