Really interesting article over here looking at the uptake of social media. The gist of the post is that Facebook and MySpace have only roughly a one in five uptake in the US market. That is only 20% of consumers with Internet access are utilising their services.
The question is whether one in five signifies a plateau or an early stage uptake. If it indicates the latter, and user numbers will head north of 50%, then the immense valuations being put on some of these properties might be valid (notwithstanding their lack of clear monetisation paths – if you own a massive chunk of Internet users, there must be something you can do to convert them).
If however this one in five figure is indicative of a plateau, there is a real problem. Bear in mind that it’s discovering new users that accounts for much of the stickiness of these offerings, if their growth slows then so to does their stickiness for users. Lowering stickiness results in lowered visits. Lowered visits limits monetisation options and potential size.
Me – I’m picking a slowing in the growth of these properties. They won’t suffer a real plateau for another couple of years but growth will definitely begin to slow over the next six months.