Social networking giant, Google, hit $2 billion in annual revenues in a shorter time than Yahoo!, and at a pace only slightly slower than Google posted in its giddy ascent from a garage-based startup to crown jewel of the Internet. BusinessWeek reports that Facebook is well on track to match truly ‘Googlesque’ numbers.
Facebook is a privately held company and as such is not required to disclose financial data, yet BusinessWeek reports that revenues for Faceboook will hit $2 billion in 2010, up from a previous forecast of roughly $1.5 billion revenues earlier this year. With its founder, Mark Zuckenberg, being named Time magazine’s “Man of the Year,” this is truly the year that Facebook, and social media in general, came into its own, a trend that big business has noted.
“The love affair of consumers with social networks is an abiding one,” Karsten Weide, an analyst at IDC, told BusinessWeek. “All the big brands are there.”
“Facebook’s more than half a billion users,” BusinessWeek notes, “have made it an attractive target for [deep-pocketed] advertisers, including Coca-Cola Co., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Adidas AG.”
Facebook surpassed Yahoo! Inc. in terms of the number of global users in October, BusinessWeek reports, replacing it in the “Big Three” of Internet destinations behind only Google and Microsoft, according to user statistics recently released by ComScore Inc., a research firm based in Reston, Virginia.
The much bandied-about statistic, however, is that Facebook’s 500,000-odd members “post a billion pieces of content, such as photos and messages every day,” a figure Time notes in its cover page article about Mr. Zuckenberg. The sheer volume of users and the content they produce acts as a very powerful magnet for advertisers, large and small.
Its two billion dollars (and rising) of annual revenue is also reportedly drawing the attention of investors. “The company has a valuation of $43.1 billion,” BusinessWeek reports, citing numbers from SharesPost Inc., an exchange for privately held stocks. “That’s up more than 60 percent from three months ago,” they report, “and almost quadruple the level in March.”
At that price, and with that pace of revenue growth, it is difficult to say what (if any) company can realistically eye Facebook as a potential merger or acquisition target. Google, of course, has $33 billion sitting in cash reserves, but any Google/Facebook coupling would kick up an even bigger regulatory dust storm than raised by Microsoft in its epic anti-trust battles with federal regulators and prosecutors during the 1990’s.
What’s next, then, for Facebook and its social networking wunder-kind CEO? Only time will tell . . . and 2011 is likely to be that time.