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Google+, Facebook, Zynga and Demand Media
Google+, Facebook, Zynga and Demand Media
By: Rammohan Sundaram

The title of my article is really a little weird, while what I am penning down are clearly just my thoughts, they still continue to be as random as the title and have no relevance whatsoever in what you are about to read below. However if you want to interlink each of these then I am sure it might be an interesting read.

So Google went ahead and launched its final ditch effort post Buzz to protect its users from migrating over time, a fear that is important to have because fear brings out courage to fight and what Google has done is just that. By not giving up on the social ambitions, it set for itself from the time it acquired Orkut clearly stating on ensuring that there will be a fight for this space unlike how Facebook just killed Myspace and Orkut through a bunch of innovative things it did.

So lets go back in time to see how Zuck's page to fame happened by just innovating on a few things.

1) Open source - clearly a "technological marvel idea" made Facebook breeze through Myspace and killed it in total (Myspace recently got sold for a meager 33M USD) - Its app platform was brilliant and created a whole new economy within a website, which not many otherwise would have ever thought off. In hindsight, this was a big differentiation & such a differentiation that within the eco-system of Facebook was a new Billionaire whose IPO is eagerly awaited - Mark Pincus and Zynga! Now think about it, Facebook's 25% time spent is still because of Zynga and it's games. (Jason Calacanis talks extensively about this in his new blog and in fact this blog is a inspiration from his latest revelations)

2) User interface, design, speed, simple product innovations like photo sharing, tagging, scrap book like wall and of course - technical brilliance has made what Facebook is today and it has spread like wild fire.

There are people who have written songs on Facebook and this one is my favorite, "Facebook is a Stupid idiot" and trust me I just love the stand up comedy of the song in a broadway than anything else. Personally I am a big fan of Facebook, it literally has shrunk the world.

Now back to Google+, I have been using it for the last week or so and a lot of it is similar, user friendly but there are some killer apps that will make this a big hit.

Lets see how it will get bigger in time and possibly have some serious competition to Facebook.

1) Google overall has a Billion+ Unique Visitors every month, which is enormous.

2) It has its own OS in Chrome, which today is close to 20% of overall browser market.

3) Our very own "Angry Birds" are free on Chrome.

4) Google's philosophy of building supremely successful products and making them all free is a known fact.

5) Google+ has a hang out, which to me is killer - this is a place where 10 of your friends from your address book can Video Chat effortlessly and is totally free.

6) Not many in India are aware of the slow but steady progress the Google App Store is making and it is the cheapest in the market compared to iTunes or even Facebook for consumers though costs on revenue share is similar to the rest on the developer's side.

7) Google has a Mobile OS in Android, Web OS in Chrome, Social Network in Google+ and has over a Billion Users to make it stick.

On point 7 you could say Google is a big winner simply because none of it's competitors have all of what it has. Apple, MS or Facebook does not have all the ingredients that Google has and clearly to me that's a differentiator.

India still is under the magic of Facebook and I dont think it will lose it's charm or anything but trust me Google+ is going to make a massive difference in how we communicate in the social space.

While Facebook is soon going to have it's global launch on commerce, mail, social search, Skype integration into it's chat and I also believe at some stage Facebook will have it's own browser and of course "Branch Out" getting into the Facebook ecosystem trying to pave way for some professionalism out there so that LinkedIn isn't the only product available in the market!

I strongly believe that it's going to be an even playing field in the next 2 years where the monopoly of Facebook ruling the roost will be over. Interesting times ahead.

Now Zynga - how many of you all believe that it is a little early for Zynga to go public? If you ask me the success of LinkedIn, it has prompted it to go public. Though Reid Hoffman is no more actively involved with LinkedIn, he has personally invested in Zynga and is on it's board. I salute the man for his brilliant acumen and also for building such wonderful companies and services; it is clear that there is some pressure of sorts from the board to go public.

Zynga's filing states $597.5M in revenue and $90.6M in earnings in 2010. The world knows that over 90% of Zynga's revenue comes because of it's sitting on Facebook and likewise 35%+ of Facebook's traffic comes from Zynga due to it's loyal base playing games day in and day out. While it is a tricky attribute both of these have with each other, it is important to have an alibi before going to the markets where people's money are going to be put on companies whose strength is not their own. At least Facebook has a product that will still stand without Zynga but I dont believe Zynga can stand without Facebook (at least for now) unless they are building something that we are not aware off.

As per WSJ, Zynga is seeking a 2B raise from its IPO with a valuation of well above 20B USD. I just cant digest these numbers sometimes. Anyway, that is the truth as per it's latest IPO filings.

Now a little trivia - What is NYtimes valuation? 1.1B USD. How old is NYtimes? 160 yrs old. And did you know that about.com, abuzz.comgolfdigest.com and winetoday.com contributes to 70% of their entire revenue? Yes it does.

Now have you heard of Demand Media? It is 5 yrs old and runs sites like trails.com, ehow.com, cracked.com, golflink.com, livestrong.com and answerbag.com. All the news you read on NYtimes is available in a better format with up-to-date information. And yes it is run by a bunch of journalists from around the world. Do you know what it's market cap is? 1.4B USD.

So what I am trying to say is, wake up and embrace the digital world, you will not know what will sweep you in the next 2 years in the Indian marketplace.

Thats all....ohh I forgot Huffpost....let it be this has become lengthy and I dont have any more patience :D