Fickle User Base May Doom Facebook

Users with no brand loyalty are a shaky foundation to build a long-lasting business on
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 17, 2009 10:24 AM CDT
Facebook recently announced that it has reached 300 million users and is covering its costs for the first time.   (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Sean Kilpatrick)
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(Newser) – These are rosy times for Facebook, but there's no guarantee the social networking juggernaut will even be around 5 years from now, Gary Andrew Poole writes for True/Slant.  The newly profitable site is riding high, with 300 million users. But as fallen giants like AOL and veterans of the implosion attest, "our expectations have changed," Poole writes. "Brand loyalty has diminished and companies tend to go bust much more quickly."

The trouble with Facebook and other Web 2.0 ventures, Poole writes, is that their value comes from their users—and it can easily evaporate when those users move on.  "I like Facebook. I like Twitter," he writes. "But do I have loyalty to them? No, I have loyalty to the user-generated content, and that is not something they control."