Throughout this Facebook IPO fail advertising has gotten a lot of the blame for the social network's lack of stock market success, but today another possible money-making problem has come to our attention: user growth. Facebook's well on its way to reaching 1 billion users with its ginormous 800 million-plus user-base. And that huge number of people is its biggest appeal to advertisers. Really, it's the first item listed under the "How We Create Value for Advertisers and Marketers" section of its S1. The document calls it "reach" but that really means popularity. And, like all of the things that give Facebook value, the social network has to keep up the rapid growth it has thus far seen to continue proving its worth. Facebook can't rely on organic explosion forever, especially as it alienates users with more advertising lameness, today we see a new strategy via The Wall Street Journal's Anton Troianovski and Shayndi Raice, who say Facebook's thinking about opening up the social network to those under the age of 13. But this move, like the Internet company's attempts at improving things for advertisers, risks alienating its current users, leaving Facebook back where it started.
Pre-teens aren't Facebook's only option for growth. It can (and already has) turn to foreign markets, where Facebook can still rely on organic growth. Some of Facebook's fastest growing markets, we learned from The Altantic's Max Fisher, are in developing countries, which makes sense as the network is newer there. Though, Fisher also attributes the crazy growth to lack of other types of infrastructure in these places -- it's easier to connect with people on the Internets than navigate bad roads, he reasons.