Facebook’s Roar Becomes a Meow

Putting ads in front of Facebook users is like hanging out at a party and interrupting conversations to hawk merchandise.Facebook was going to become the new Google, the Silicon Valley hypemeisters claimed. Millions of people would join this social-networking site, advertisers would rush in and revenues would skyrocket. But something went wrong. The users arrived — there are now 110 million of them — but the money hasn’t kept up. Revenues this year, according to researcher eMarketer, will be $265 million, well below what Facebook’s 24-year-old founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg was predicting eight months ago. What happened? Sure, the faltering economy has made advertisers skittish. But Facebook’s main problem is not the economy.The fact is, this is an entertaining and sometimes even useful Web site, but it’s simply not a very good moneymaker. And there’s no indication that Zuckerberg and his team will ever find a way to turn it into one.

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