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… and how it relates to Yahoo’s revenue projections. Freshmen need to generate 900 pageviews per month Yahoo expects to make their numbers.

Fred Stutzman says:

Social networks like the Facebook are situationally relevant. This means that at different points in a person’s life, the information needs answered by the site are different. For Facebook, the strongest information need met by the site is when the users are Freshmen in college, negotiating a new social world. As these users age – they find partners, narrow their friend groups, settle down – a site like Facebook becomes much less relevant. Does Yahoo really expect that 92% of users are going to be trying to continue to use Facebook like they are freshmen into their mid-twenties and thirties?

In reality, Facebook use decays over time. Indeed, the Facebook may think of new products that keep people coming back (and Yahoo’s assumption certainly takes this into account), but the core motivation that made people latch onto the Facebook only gets weaker over time. Once we find our friend groups, we need something like the Facebook less. Facebook is a somewhat unique product in that sense.

“Situational relevance and the patterns of decay based on the lifecycle of users.â€? Dating sites should take notice of this. A member during the first week or two does not have the same needs as a one year member. Most sites don’t treat the two any differently, which is a) leaving money on the table and b) not providing members with the help and guidance they need to find the right person for them. What is your site doing to work with members along the dating timeline?