The rise and fall of online empires (infographic)

22 Mar 2012

While Facebook prepares to go public, a new infographic takes a look at the rise and fall of other internet giants, such as Yahoo!, Alta Vista and MySpace to see how Facebook can survive.

Facebook filed for its IPO in early February and hopes to raise US$5bn for its flotation in May. It’s set to become the largest internet IPO on record.

With US$3.7bn in revenues in 2011 and 845m monthly active members, it seems as though nothing can stop the social networking giant. However, Facebook faces a number of challenges in the future, such as its dependency on revenue from social games company Zynga, the potential for its membership growth to decline and if other social networks rise in popularity.

The info-graphic by takes the opportunity to look back at other internet giants which came before Facebook, such as MySpace, AOL, Yahoo!, Alta Vista and Digg, to see if Facebook can learn anything from their successes and mistakes.

Indeed, many of these companies have faced their fair share of issues. MySpace saw many of its members leave for Facebook, leading to NewsCorp selling the company and layoffs of 50pc of its staff. A major redesign of Digg was met with huge criticism, seeing much of its user base leave for rival service Reddit. Yahoo! has been beset with its own difficulties, seeing numerous upper-management shifts.

The infographic estimates an internet company lasts 11 years before it ‘hits bottom.’ Of course, other internet companies have bucked this trend – Google, founded 14 years ago, still dominates the online search market. Facebook launched eight years ago, is earning a lot of revenue and still has time to avoid the mistakes of other fallen internet companies. Its future is still wide open, but all eyes will be on the social network when it goes public in May.