Investors Turn to Alternatives to Facebook
The Financial Times reported on Feb. 12 that investors are turning to alternative social media networks, and Facebook is no longer at the top of the list. Benchmark Capital and Greylock Partners are two recent examples of companies that are branching out beyond Facebook. Bloomberg reported on Feb. 12 that David Sze, who was an early investor in Facebook and LinkedIn, has decided to support the startup Nextdoor.
Social media alternatives to Facebook are increasing as users discover more networks that fit their needs. The Financial Times lists Nextdoor and Snapshot as two recent competitors. However, other networks have been available for several years and are seeing growth among their users. Orkut, Google’s social network, has 33 million users around the world and is still one of the most popular networks in Brazil and India. Zorpia, founded in 2003 by Jeffrey Ng, has grown to 26 million users while expanding its features to include photo albums and online journals in addition to social networking. Badoo has grown to 121 million users and has reached 180 countries.
Bill Gurley has mentioned, “Twitter and LinkedIn were once called alternative social networks.” The gap between alternative networks and Facebook is beginning to get smaller, and investors are noticing this. Although Facebook is not disappearing and will continue to attract users, its growth in certain markets is being stalled. For example, Facebook is still banned in China and other countries. Despite the ability of some users to get past the block, the ban has allowed alternative social media networks to flourish, and Zorpia has been able to use its ICP license in China to grow its user base. Meanwhile, Facebook is slowly beginning to lose users. MarketWatch reported that Facebook lost 1.4 million users in December, and this may be the start of an ongoing trend.