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Deal Radar 2010: Should Facebook Acquire Into Vertical Search?

Posted on Tuesday, Jan 19th 2010

On ReadWriteWeb, Marshall Kirkpatrick asks, “Who(m) Should Facebook Acquire Next?” Here’s my response.

Back in 2007, I wrote a piece called Facebook’s Monetization Strategy in which I suggested categories like vertical search for jobs, online photo sharing, and online travel as possibilities.

While Photobucket is off the table (and now inside MySpace/News Corp), Vertical Job Search engine Indeed is still independent. And with 30 million people unemployed in the United States, this may be a brilliant move. Indeed’s competitor is SimplyHired, but it has investment from News Corp, so may not be as keen.

In travel, Kayak remains independent and with substantial revenue growth. Another company that would bring Facebook incredible monetization potential.

And finally, on photo sharing, my suggestion is public company Shutterfly, also a sizable revenue and growth driver.

Facebook can change the game on Google if it assembles a portfolio of vertical search engines and other context-specific offerings, and it would dramatically enhance its credibility with powerful monetization paths.

Let’s see if it happens in 2010.

This segment is a part in the series : Deal Radar 2010

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I don’t think Facebook should be going head to head with Google. It simply does not make sense.

It also does not make sense to give it LinkedIn type functionality, since people usually prefer to keep their social and professional contacts separate. Many currently use Facebook for personal and LinkedIn for professional contacts.

I like the Shutterfly idea. Another photo candidate is SmugMug and video candidate is Vimeo. They could also combine event management utils like Anyvite.

But I think Facebook will get the bang for its buck if it can integrate communications, enhance its chat, combine it with Voice and Video, allow live telecasts from an event using an iPhone or Android app for everyone to see and talk about from within Facebook.

Ram Tuesday, January 19, 2010 at 5:38 PM PT

Vertical Search is not going head to head with Google. It is going after the search market which has better monetization than almost any other form of online advertising with something Google has consistently ignored.

Sramana Mitra Tuesday, January 19, 2010 at 6:33 PM PT

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