From the Editors
Good Morning Silicon Valley compiles some "eye popping" numbers about the rumored IPO and its possible record-nearing value. The stock-market experts at Business Insider wonder if a Facebook IPO will mean "the end of innovation," as some set-for-life FB employees may cash out and leave, or stop trying as hard to think up cool stuff like Timeline and Beacon. But All Facebook says don't mark your calendars just yet, suggesting that we should we forget about the Facebook IPO rumor until game maker Zynga has its own public offering: "If Zynga's not rushing forward with its IPO, why should Facebook make any concrete plans? Facebook's share price has been going down in the last series of private market auctions, so issuing any additional stock would likely add additional downward pressure to that pricing." Finally, Mashable presents a kind of FAQ to the IPO including the downsides to the company in going public: "There are a few, mostly the loss of privacy...Facebook will now have to report quarterly and annual earnings as well as more juicy information, like the amount of shares that executives in the company hold." Loss of privacy? Get used to it! (We did.)
The Federal Trade Commission put in its teeth and reached a settlement with FB that will require "audits of Facebook's privacy program for the next 20 years, and requires the company to obtain express affirmative consent from users before altering their privacy preferences in the future," reports Clickz. What did the company do exactly? "Facebook shared user IDs with advertisers, allowing them to tie Facebook data to information gleaned about users on other sites." ReadWriteWeb itemizes eight separate privacy violations cited by the FTC, eight ways "Facebook screwed with everyone's privacy." Says Gizmodo: "Apperantly, the word 'private' meant 'private until we make a few changes and make sure the whole world see your vacation photos'." (Note: at Gizmodo, the word "apperantly" means "apparently.") At the Daily Beast, Dan Lyons puts a bowtie on it all with the explanation Mark Zuckerberg might have delivered to users "if he dared to be brutally honest." A highlight: "The truth is, we have no interest in protecting your privacy, and if you still believe that we do, then you are stupider than we thought, and believe me, we already thought you were pretty stupid. Think about it. The only way our business works is if we can track what you do and sell that information to advertisers. Did you honestly not realize that?"
Meanwhile, more traditional consumer businesses were battling for bucks in the wake of Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the whole Thanks-buying holiday season. It seems the "Death of Cyber Monday" had been greatly exaggerated. "This year's Cyber Monday was the biggest day in online spending ever, with $1.25 billion spent at online retailers, up 22 percent from a year ago," reports VentureBeat. Wow! Adds O'Reilly Radar: "If online sales growth was healthy, the growth in mobile sales was practically supernatural. PayPal Mobile reported a 552% increase in global mobile payment volume on Cyber Monday 2011 compared to the same day a year earlier. " SearchEngineWatch tracks other CyMo data, including Bing's report that the top consumer electronics searches were for LCD TVs, GPS, and home theaters and that another search term that spiked on Cyber Monday was "pepper sprayed shoppers." "Part of the reason these big sale days work is because they're special. 24 hours of the lowest prices and best deals," says Marketing Pilgrim. "Yet, this [Tuesday] morning, I woke up to emails from two retailers saying they were extending their sales for another 24 hours. So now it's Cyber Tuesday?" It's probably inevitable. A few are choosing to sit out the whole shopping madness. Statistics are harder to track for this year's Buy Nothing Day.