By Katie Little
Long before Facebook became a verb and its IPO sparked a scramble for its shares, it was just another site that college campuses tend to incubate.
Many wondered if it would be merely a fad. Even its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, questioned why it was growing so quickly.
A collection of articles from “The Harvard Crimson” provides a glimpse into the site’s 2004 inception in Zuckerberg’s dorm room—before it became a social networking giant with a projected value of up to $95 billion.
In one piece, Zuckerberg said he almost gave up on creating the site, which he built in roughly a week as an alternative to a university-run social site that he thought would take too long to develop.
“If I hadn’t launched it that day, I was about to just can it and go on to the next thing I was about to do,” he said about the site, first began as thefacebook.com.
After the site launched, it enjoyed wildfire-like success. But not everyone was convinced that the site’s popularity was sustainable.
“I’m a bit curious to see if Mark’s website is a short-term phenomenon,” said Aaron Charbourne, a Harvard student. “Last year, there was a thing called buddyzoo.com where you could post your buddy list online and create a network, but after a while people definitely lost interest in it.”
Still, students from Harvard, and later other colleges, flocked to the site — a response that surprised even Zuckerberg.
“I have no idea why it’s so popular,” he told the paper. “I was pretty surprised.”
As Facebook expanded among other members of the Ivy League, Zuckerberg mentioned the possibility of generating revenue from the site for the first time in the articles. At the time, he said he was paying about $85 per month out of pocket for the server space.
“It might be nice in the future to get some ads going to offset the cost of the servers,” he said.
Read the rest here.