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Comments from Marketfish CEO Dave Scott have been added to this story.
NEW YORK (
Facebook(FB - Get Report) may be gearing up for the mother of all tech
IPOs, but big questions are being asked about the company's long-term growth strategy.
From Mark Zuckerberg's Harvard dorm room to a potential
market cap of $104 billion, Facebook has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the space of just eight years. Experts, however, warn that the Facebook CEO faces a massive challenge ensuring that this upward trajectory continues.
"While Facebook has done a fantastic job of gathering hundreds of millions of users together between its virtual covers, monetizing that huge crowd has been more of a challenge," noted Charles King, principal analyst at research firm
Pund-IT. "There may simply be no easy way for Facebook to ensure long-term growth, especially at a level commensurate with what's likely to be its huge initial valuation."
"In order for Facebook to be successful in the long-term, it must first find a revenue model that works," added Dave Scott, the CEO of analytics and reporting specialist
Marketfish. "Facebook advertising, in its current form, doesn't work - let's face it, who wants to shop for a pair of pants while they are looking for the college roommate's baby pictures?"
Scott believes that the real revenue opportunity for Facebook lies in big data. "With all of the information they collect on people, they can use it to offer new services of value that would not only be welcome but needed by its community," he explained.
For the boy king Zuckerberg and his court, driving long-term revenue growth will be the biggest test of the post-IPO era. From mobile to developers and cultural challenges, analysts predict plenty for the Facebook CEO to tackle.
What do you Facebook's long-term strategy should be? Why not tell us on
TheStreet's Facebook IPO live blog, which starts at 8AM ET on Friday:
Read on for more detail on the challenges that Facebook faces as a public company: