Home / Blogs

Facebook + email = Facebook

Remember when Gmail launched in 2004, and everyone said it was going to kill Hotmail, Yahoo!, and AOL? Six years later, and this chart shows pretty clearly that while gmail has grown, only AOL’s pageviews have fallen. The rest have held fairly steady.

So what’s everyone freaking out about?

Perhaps it’s that Facebook email will be Facebook first and email second. Facebook + email = Facebook.

In other words: their social model, however flawed, will apply.

In other other words: no more spam, unless the recipient has opted in first.

WAIT! STOP IT RIGHT THERE! If the idea of an opt-in-only world scares you, you’re thinking like a marketer and not like a user—or actually you’re thinking like a bad marketer, because the good marketers always think about what their recipients are thinking.

For users—actual human beings who receive and send and use email—this could be the coolest messaging feature since threading (except that most users still don’t have actual threading.)

And there’ll still be a place for marketers to do what they do; Facebook has shown again and again that they’ll happily sell their users’ data to whoever wants it. Users “like” your page or whatever it takes to opt in to receive your messages, and Facebook will sell you stats on whether they read it or not, how long they spent looking at it, whether or not they were wearing pants at the time—whatever you can imagine, and lots that you don’t want to.

This will be absolutely amazing for the many modern marketers who have no scruples about collecting ever-more-intrusive formerly-private data about people, and potentially life-destroying for the many marketers who have no scruples about spamming people. But why is anyone surprised? This is 2010, not 1995. The world has changed. Facebook qualms aside, the idea of using a user’s social graph to keep their inbox clean has been around for years.

My guess—not knowing anything more than anyone else at this point—is that we’ll finally get to try it out.

By J.D. Falk, Internet Standards and Governance

Filed Under


well, turns out I was wrong J.D. Falk  –  Nov 15, 2010 7:23 PM

Facebook’s new messaging system is even less like email than I’d expected.  It’s much more like Google Wave, only without any of the cool collaboration features.

Comment Title:

  Notify me of follow-up comments

We encourage you to post comments and engage in discussions that advance this post through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can report it using the link at the end of each comment. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of CircleID. For more information on our comment policy, see Codes of Conduct.

CircleID Newsletter The Weekly Wrap

More and more professionals are choosing to publish critical posts on CircleID from all corners of the Internet industry. If you find it hard to keep up daily, consider subscribing to our weekly digest. We will provide you a convenient summary report once a week sent directly to your inbox. It's a quick and easy read.

I make a point of reading CircleID. There is no getting around the utility of knowing what thoughtful people are thinking and saying about our industry.

Co-designer of the TCP/IP Protocols & the Architecture of the Internet




Sponsored byDNIB.com

Threat Intelligence

Sponsored byWhoisXML API

Brand Protection

Sponsored byCSC


Sponsored byVerisign

New TLDs

Sponsored byRadix

IPv4 Markets

Sponsored byIPv4.Global

Domain Names

Sponsored byVerisign