The Master Marketer BLOG

The Facebook Rumormill

Posted by Jeffrey Schmidt on Fri, Aug 17, 2012 @ 7 PM
People love talking about Facebook. Second perhaps only to Google, Facebook tends inspire a strange celebrity-like relationship where folks are constantly talking about them and spreading new rumors about what they might be up to next. Everyone wants a hot tip to improve their Facebook marketing.

It's understandable, perhaps, but most of these rumors have little, if any, actual substance. So, we thought we'd look at some of the Facebook marketing rumors that have been floating around in the last few months and see if there's anything to them.

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Facebook Rumor Roundup

Facebook wants to buy Bing: We've talked about this one before, since it emerged around the time of the IPO. A lot of people were convinced that Facebook needed the money to buy Bing, so they could have a search engine. However, nothing concrete ever emerged from this and, more to the point, the terms of Microsoft's deal with Yahoo make it deeply unlikely this would happen. Because Yahoo is currently partnered with Bing to use its search engine, Yahoo has the right of first refusal if Bing ever wanted to sell, as well as the right to walk away - halving Bing's user base - if it ever sells. Plausibility: Low to nonexistent.

Facebook wants to buy Opera: This one sounds a little more plausible, on the face of it. The idea is, Facebook wants its own phone, so they want to buy Opera -one of the premiere vendors of mobile browsers- to bundle their own software on it. Unfortunately, there's been no high level confirmation of it at all, either from Facebook or from Opera themselves. Plus, it has the larger problem of being reliant on another Facebook rumor (see below) which is also probably not true. Plausibility: Extremely low.

Facebook wants a phone: This is one that has been tossed around since at least 2010, saying that Facebook wants to partner with someone (currently HTC is named) to produce a Facebook-branded and integrated phone. Unfortunately, Zuckerberg himself has shot this particular rumor down, saying it makes no sense at this time for Facebook to want a phone. The Zuck may have problems with his people skills at times, but he's generally honest about his plans for the company and, more to the point, his objections make sense. Plausibility: Virtually none.

iOS 6 integration for Facebook: Here's a more realistic one: buzz is strong that the upcoming Fall release of Apple's latest mobile OS, iOS 6, will include direct integration of Facebook in much the same way that iOS 5 added native Twitter capabilities. This could be a great boon for Facebook marketing, since user opinions on its mobile apps are tepid at best, plus those apps deny Facebook significant ad money. Even better, recent comments from Apple's CEO strongly suggest some sort of closer relationship between the two companies. I'm expecting this one to basically come true, even if the exact details aren't known yet. Plausibility: High.

Facebook is shutting down in October 2012: We're just throwing this one in for the heck of it. The short version is, no it's not, nor is there any reason to think it would. In fact, the source for the rumor is The Weekly World News. Plausibility: It's a tabloid, dude.

So, what can we learn here? Mostly that virtually any rumors involving Facebook should be taken with a grain of salt. If you combine its worldwide popularity with Wall Street's desire to make money off it, these sorts of Facebook marketing rumors are inevitable. However, aside from iOS 6, there just isn't much substance to any of these.

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Posted by Jeffrey Schmidt

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