NEW YORK (TheStreet) --
It seems like just last year that Facebook (FB)and Twitter were making ambitious deals to snap up nascent competitors they feared could invade the spaces that each company dominates in the social network stratosphere.
That's because it was just last year.
In the hyper-real time Silicon Valley petri dish of product development, startups can go from white-hot to negative Kelvin almost overnight, and Facebook - closing in on 18 months as a public company - and Twitter - hot on CEO Mark Zuckerberg's heels with an IPO of its own - are moving away from M&A transactions that simply better engage network users and more toward monetizing their habits.
Facebook's acquisition on Monday, Oct. 14, of Israeli mobile and data analytics firm Ovago - reportedly for $200 million, or about a fifth of what it paid in pre-IPO stock for Instagram Inc. - is the company's biggest buy this year to date and also the best example of the monetization race.
Facebook has struck more than a dozen deals since its acquisition of Instagram, and its IPO, but little has been spent in terms of capital and to focus on doing more to get users online. This is a take-off from the company's strategy as a private entity. Back then, Facebook bought startups like FriendFeed Inc. and Snaptu Ltd. as it was in hockey stick growth mode, tucking in peripheral apps that better organized and connected users. At more than 1.1 billion users, Facebook can now back away from that buffet.