Even Google won't be around for ever, let alone Facebook | Technology | The Observer: " . . . If you put your faith in network effects, therefore, Facebook looks like a good investment because it'll be around for the long term. If people want to do social networking, then it'll be the only game in town. Facebook users will constitute a captive market and will be correspondingly exploited. And the company will be regulated as a monopoly. Which is where "stickiness" comes in. How much exploitation will users tolerate before they decide to quit? We know a lot about network effects but relatively little about this, which is why a new study by three scientists at the Swiss university ETH Zurich makes interesting reading. They examined several social networking services, seeking to identify what makes them resilient and what could cause them to decline. And they performed an empirical autopsy on a failed service – Friendster – using data gathered just before it closed. The key determinants of success or failure were (i) the average number of friends that users have and (ii) whether the difficulty of using the site comes to outweigh the perceived benefits. Facebook is doing OK on the first of these criteria but – in my experience – becoming increasingly vulnerable on the second as the company tries to "monetise" its users. If Mark Zuckerberg's empire can't square this circle then not even the power of network effects will save it in the long run."