The story is out that Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook’s current priority is improving users’ mobile experience.
And I know there has been press about the amendment to Facebook’s SEC filing this week, in anticipation of pricing the IPO, to the effect that Facebook knows it needs to monetize on mobile.
But I wonder if the new SEC disclosure is more nuanced than anyone else is catching.
I ran a redline of this week’s Facebook amendment against the prior filing. Only three substantive changes in the entire draft prospectus. All three are worth looking at.
Here’s the first:
I think if you read just this initial paragraph above, your takeaway is fairly what has been reported, i.e., Facebook knows it has to be better at pushing ads on mobile, the way it pushes ads on the desktop. But then see the next paragraph with a significant edit:
Notice the approach from a different angle? The company here seems to be saying, look, we value user experience above the almighty (short term) dollar.
The paragraph is not saying that Facebook is backing off advertising on mobile as a long term strategy; but arguably it is implying that, at least at the outset, Facebook has found resistance to ads on mobile, and that failure to better monetize mobile to date is due to a deliberate decision to not serve ads on mobile at the desktop pace.
Here’s the third, pulling the points of the prior two cited paragraphs into a single argument:
It may be wishful over-reading on my part — finding significance about business direction where the company’s real purpose is to disclose that monetization of mobile is not certain — but I take some hope that Facebook is willing to consider that advertising may not, in fact, be the right way to monetize their mobile products.
Attorney William Carleton is a member of McNaul Ebel Nawrot & Helgren PLLC, a Seattle law firm. He works with startups and emerging tech companies, their founders and investors. He posts regularly about tech-related legal issues on his blog.