There is no doubt the Facebook IPO will transform Facebook and turn it into something that's very different for users. The big risk for Facebook is that it will piss off large sections of its 800 million-plus user base. As ifpress reports, Facebook can't start charging users so what it will do instead is through advertising and by charging for "premium" services, and that means the advertising will be much more in your face. Facebook will look for ways to provide businesses and advertisers with greater access to users.
"For Facebook to grow its revenue it either needs to provide more of it on their page (which would affect your Facebook user experience) or charge more for existing space. In order to charge more per ad, Facebook needs to show its ads successfully reach Facebook users and drive results. This suggests to me that Facebook ads would need to become even more prominent, which probably means more invasive."
Facebook will be expected to produce improved financial results. That's the way Wall Street works. If a company fails to meet expectations, the stock will be punished. It means Facebook will be under a lot of pressure to keep driving revenues and profits so expect to see new activity to generate sales. Which means more ads and finding more ways to give advertisers access to users.
Doesn't sound good? Chris Taylor in Mashable says that's just the way the system works. Facebook will be different post-IPO. "Everything is going to be different when the company goes public later this year. From that point on, Facebook will have a solemn obligation to create more value for shareholders. No doubt the social mission will continue to be important. But as a public company, Facebook must try its damnedest to make money before all else. I'm not saying that's right or wrong; I'm saying it's the law … Tiny but vital decisions must be made by Facebookers every day. And the ultimate arbiter of those decisions is about to change from 'what makes sense for our social mission' to 'what makes sense for our shareholders.' The Facebook faithful can only hope that those two goals remain entwined for many years to come."