John GallaugherAssociate Professor of Information SystemsCarroll School of ManagementBoston CollegeAdvisor to the annual Boston College Venture CompetitionLeader of award-winning TechTreks to Silicon Valley, Seattle, NYC and Boston
Expertise: Entrepreneurship, start-up culture, the tech sector, social media, information systems. Author of the eTextbook "Information Systems: A Manager's Guide to Harnessing Technology" now used in courses taught at Boston College, Carnegie-Mellon, Maryland, Michigan and NYU.
Comment: "More than half of Facebook’s active user base log on via mobile. But mobile users are less engaged with ads, the firm’s primary revenue source, so the ARPU (avg. revenue per user) of mobile users is lower than on the desktop. The quest for mobile engagement drove Facebook to acquire the less-than-two-year-old Instagram, and its 13 employees, for $1 billion earlier this year. Another smaller mobile acquisition got less notice, but its impact is now being felt. Karma, the social gifting app that was purchased by Mark Zuckerberg on the day of Facebook’s IPO, now forms the heart of the new ‘Facebook Gifts’ platform. And these are real, physical gifts, not the cheesy virtual gift icons of yore. The gift platform is rolling out in select cities via web and in mobile (Android users get it first). Friends can give a gift from the newsfeed or from a friend’s timeline. Givers pay right away or when a gift is accepted. Recipients get a virtual card with animated ‘open’, see the gifts, click on whether they accept it, and if so, tell Facebook where the gift should be shipped. New revenue streams are needed as the firm’s stock continues to languish and new reports suggest that Google is on track to surpass Facebook in display advertising. Facebook Gifts won’t accept PayPal, either (Facebook says its margins for real gifts are too thin to share the additional cut PayPal takes). By grabbing your credit card, Facebook could position itself for broader commercial payments plays, perhaps even competing with Square, LevelUp, and others."