Keep in mind that the market rollout of Facebook and email are far too similar to be accidental. Facebook and email both hit a billion users roughly a half-decade after initial commercial deployment. And Facebook is on track to follow email in terms of global penetration. The Radicati Group, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based research group that studies mass messaging, including email, estimates that there will be 4.3 billion email users by the end of 2016.
"This represents an average annual growth rate of 6% over the next four years," said the company.
Fair enough. That's not exactly what Facebook is doing, but it's not far off.
Facebook doesn't make any money either
The chilling part for investors, of course, is that email offers as grim a prediction as possible for the future of Facebook.
Honestly, if you turn off the hype fog machine for a sec and compare any modern Web-based email service from Gmail to AOL (AOL) Mail to Yahoo! (YHOO) or even Hotmail and enable all the latest functions for list management, rich media sharing and Web-based list and group management, really, how different is that experience from Facebook? The answer is: not much. Ignore the investor spam: Facebook is no upgrade from Web 1.0. It is Web 1.0. It is time to value it as such.
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