Technology StocksFacebook, Inc.

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To: Wayners who wrote (93)2/17/2012 6:30:07 PM
From: Glenn Petersen
1 Recommendation   of 3024
Second Life had the same problem:

Facebook is not driving e-commerce as much as some retailers hoped

By Ashley Lutz
Washington Post
Published: February 8 | Updated: Friday, February 17, 8:02 AM

Feb. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Last April, Gamestop Corp. opened a store on Facebook to generate sales among the 3.5 million-plus customers who’d declared themselves “fans” of the video game retailer. Six months later, the store was quietly shuttered.

Gamestop has company. Over the past year, Gap Inc., J.C. Penney Co. and Nordstrom Inc. have all opened and closed storefronts on Facebook Inc.’s social networking site.

Facebook, which this month filed for an initial public offering, has sought to be a top shopping destination for its 845 million members. The stores’ quick failure shows that the Menlo Park, California-based social network doesn’t drive commerce and casts doubt on its value for retailers, said Sucharita Mulpuru, an analyst at Forrester Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

“There was a lot of anticipation that Facebook would turn into a new destination, a store, a place where people would shop,” Mulpuru said in a telephone interview. “But it was like trying to sell stuff to people while they’re hanging out with their friends at the bar.”

A year ago, investors hailed so-called F-commerce as the next big thing, speculating that the company had potential to threaten Inc. and PayPal Inc. Facebook is the most- visited website in the world. Some people thought that persuading visitors to shop would be easy, Mulpuru said.

David Fisch, Facebook’s director of business development, said in June that the site would be more appealing than competitors because it could replicate the social experience of a brick-and-mortar shopping mall.

Hanging Out

“This is where people are hanging out,” Fisch said at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition in San Diego.

Facebook planned to profit from retailers buying ads to drive traffic to their on-site stores. Business consultant Booz & Co. predicted in January 2011 that physical goods sold through social commerce would balloon to $30 billion from $5 billion by 2015, with Facebook contributing a majority of sales.

Even as some businesses shut storefronts, many companies continue to devote advertising dollars to the social network. Facebook’s sales surged 55 percent to $1.13 billion in the fourth quarter. The company aims to use e-commerce more as a way of getting users to stay longer than as a way to boost revenue, said Krista Garcia, an analyst at EMarketer Inc. in New York.

Chris Kraeuter, a Facebook spokesman, declined to comment.

Customers had no incentive to shop at Gamestop’s Facebook store rather than the company’s regular website because purchasing online is already convenient, said Ashley Sheetz, who is the Grapevine, Texas-based company’s vice president of marketing and strategy.

Shut Quickly

“We just didn’t get the return on investment we needed from the Facebook market, so we shut it down pretty quickly,” Sheetz said in a telephone interview. “For us, it’s been a way we communicate with customers on deals, not a place to sell.”

Gap, which has 5.6 million Facebook fans from its namesake, Banana Republic and Old Navy pages, opened and discontinued a storefront last year, said Liz Nunan, a company spokeswoman. The San Francisco-based company also discovered customers preferred shopping on its own sites, she said.

“We will continue to evaluate if this is something we want to bring back in the future,” Nunan said in an emailed statement.

Nordstrom tested ways to make shopping “seamless through Facebook” and decided on a broader social media focus, Colin Johnson, a spokesman, said.

J.C. Penney featured assortments in a Facebook “shop” tab beginning in 2010, and took it down in December 2011, Kate Coultas, a spokeswoman said in an emailed statement.

Cracks in Model

Wade Gerten, chief executive officer of social media developer 8thBridge, previously known as Alvenda, opened a Facebook store for the florist 1-800-FLOWERS. Minneapolis-based Gerten went on to develop commerce strategies for Delta Air Lines Inc., Diane Von Furstenberg Studio LP and denim-maker Seven for all Mankind.

Cracks in the model showed quickly, Gerten said in a telephone interview. Clients “have taken a different approach,” shutting stores or scaling back their offerings.

“It was basically just another place to shop for all the stuff already available on the retailer websites,” Gerten said. “I give so-called F-commerce an ‘F.’”

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To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (94)2/17/2012 6:48:30 PM
From: Win-Lose-Draw
   of 3024
What ever happened to the guy with the (claimed) 50%(?) stake written on a napkin way back in the early early days?

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To: Win-Lose-Draw who wrote (96)2/17/2012 7:12:15 PM
From: Glenn Petersen
   of 3024
Still open. From the S-1:

Paul D. Ceglia filed suit against us and Mark Zuckerberg on or about June 30, 2010, in the Supreme Court of the State of New York for the County of Allegheny claiming substantial ownership of our company based on a purported contract between Mr. Ceglia and Mr. Zuckerberg allegedly entered into in April 2003. We removed the case to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York, where the case is now pending. In his first amended complaint, filed on April 11, 2011, Mr. Ceglia revised his claims to include an alleged partnership with Mr. Zuckerberg, he revised his claims for relief to seek a substantial share of Mr. Zuckerberg’s ownership in us, and he included quotations from supposed emails that he claims to have exchanged with Mr. Zuckerberg in 2003 and 2004. On June 2, 2011, we filed a motion for expedited discovery based on evidence we submitted to the court showing that the alleged contract and emails upon which Mr. Ceglia bases his complaint are fraudulent. On July 1, 2011, the court granted our motion and ordered Mr. Ceglia to produce, among other things, all hard copy and electronic versions of the purported contract and emails. On January 10, 2012, the court granted our request for sanctions against Mr. Ceglia for his delay in compliance with that order. We continue to believe that Mr. Ceglia is attempting to perpetrate a fraud on the court and we intend to continue to defend the case vigorously.


Facebook wants Paul Ceglia to pay more than $84,000 in attorney fees

Jessica Guynn
L.A. Times
January 20, 2012 | 5:36 pm

Facebook's lawyers are asking a judge to order Paul Ceglia to foot the bill for more than $84,000 in fees.

Ceglia, the New York man who claims he's entitled to half of Mark Zuckerberg's multibillion-dollar stake in Facebook, was fined for refusing to turn over email account information and ordered to pay reasonable attorneys' fees.

Facebook's lawyers are also asking Leslie G. Foschio, the federal magistrate in Buffalo, N.Y., to order Ceglia not to file any additional "non-responsive papers or pleadings in the case" until he pays up.

Ceglia's lawyer, Dean Boland, said he has not had a chance to review the court filing in detail, but said he and his client would prepare a response over the coming week.

"If we feel it ought to be modified, we will respond accordingly," Boland said.

Boland, who's from Cleveland, took a shot at Facebook's lawyers for charging Manhattan hourly rates in a case unfolding in Buffalo.

"Cleveland and Buffalo are pretty identical demographically, and I can tell you that no lawyer would survive in the city of Cleveland charging that much an hour because no one would be able to hire him," Boland said.

Orin Snyder, the most senior Gibson Dunn partner, charged $716.25 an hour. His most junior associate charged $337.50 an hour, according to the filing.

Facebook, which is on the verge of an initial public offering that could value the world's most popular social networking company at $100 billion, can clearly afford it.

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From: Win-Lose-Draw2/17/2012 7:53:30 PM
   of 3024
Thanks, Glen. Curious to see how that plays out.

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To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (94)2/17/2012 8:11:21 PM
From: Kirk ©
1 Recommendation   of 3024

$700K for 2.5% today after dilution is probably $2.5B for a 3,571x return!

So MANY of us tried to get social networking sites to be what facebook is today.... I started with suite101 back in 1997. Most of them went after revenue or niche markets or were just too early... and failed while facebook seems to have focused on user experience and then figures they can get revenue.... so many tried... so the one that got it right gets the big bucks.

It is great for the area as our property is already soaring and people are holding off new listings until the lockup period ends from linkedIn... .... then the rich folks will decide they don't want to work for Zuckerberg so they'll strike out on their own and start a bunch of new companies... it should be good couple of years here.

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To: Kirk © who wrote (99)2/17/2012 9:05:03 PM
From: Glenn Petersen
1 Recommendation   of 3024
I was both a user and shareholder of suite101. I loved the site and managed to exit the stock with a nice profit.

Subject 25282

In 1996, I negotiated the acquisition of Cybertown, a science fiction themed virtual community. At the time it had almost as many users as Gerocities. Unfortunately, the investment banker pulled the plug at the last moment. I still have a vivid memory of listening to the voice mail message. The site eventually became a ghost town and went offline last month.

I was doing due diligence in the Cybertown offices when Flight 800 went down off of Long Island on July 17, 1996 and I watched the site light up with commentary. It was a real WTF moment for me. I really wanted to do that deal.

BTW, your occasional loyalty to GGR has been noted on the Picks thread.

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To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (95)2/18/2012 12:10:13 AM
From: Wayners
   of 3024
All excellent points. After FB goes public watch for all kinds of intrusive ads and popups to be added...people will be like seeya later, don't need the agravation from all the ads...FB flash in the pan like It should be obvious that people who go out and buy hamburger at the grocery store aren't going to rush home and recommend thier hamburger brand to all their friends and relatives...DUH! but that is what every retailer and etailer has some crazy expectation for. The only stuff that will get recommended will be truely interesting things and there aren't many of those these days...FB is done.

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From: Glenn Petersen2/19/2012 6:06:24 PM
1 Recommendation   of 3024
Facebook, It's Time To Face Facts: You Need Apple More Than It Needs You (AAPL)

Jay Yarow
provided by Business Insider
February 19, 2012 04:00 AM

It's time for Facebook to go hat in hand to Apple and make a deal to get integrated in iOS and OS X.

The two companies have been in a stand off for a long time.

In 2010, Steve Jobs said Facebook's "onerous terms" prevented it from being integrated into iTunes social network Ping. We're not sure if that was Steve Jobs bending the truth to his liking, or if Facebook was really asking for something outrageous.

Assuming there's some shade of truth to what Jobs said and Facebook was asking for something Apple wouldn't give, Facebook needs to drop it and accept Apple's demands.

Why? Because Apple is doing really well without Facebook. It's the most valuable company in the world. It's producing historically great earnings. People are buying iPads and iPhones in droves.

What about Facebook? It's doing really well, too! Hundreds of millions of people are using Facebook. It has insane profit margins, and it's legitimate, big business.

So, we have two companies that doing just fine operating relatively independent of each other.

Why are we suggesting Facebook blink first, then?

Because Facebook's core mission, according to Mark Zuckerberg's letter to investors, is "to make the world more open and connected." He also said, "At Facebook, we build tools to help people connect with the people they want and share what they want, and by doing this we are extending people’s capacity to build and maintain relationships."

Apple's core mission is to make insanely great products.

Apple doesn't need Facebook to achieve its mission. Facebook, on the other hand, needs Apple to achieve its core mission.

As Apple's integration of Twitter shows, it can be super easy to share things through iOS and OS X. If Facebook wants people sharing more, then it needs to be a part of Apple's world.

So, Facebook, it's time to go back to Apple. It's time to say, "We're ready to work with you, on your terms."

Unless, Apple has truly outrageous terms. In which case, screw those guys. You're doing pretty well as it is.

If anyone knows what's going on between these companies, let us know at

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From: Glenn Petersen2/23/2012 11:30:42 PM
   of 3024
FB will be reporting their first quarter results before the IPO:

Facebook behind budget on Q1 ad revenue, sources say

Jennifer Van Grove
February 23, 2012 3:52 PM

Facebook’s newest advertising product, expected to be unveiled on Feb. 29, leaked to the web yesterday. The ads themselves would appear to be a natural evolution of the company’s primary money-making business, but perhaps there’s more to these new sponsored stories than meets the eye.

The introduction of upgraded ad formats, according to one prominent financial analyst, is a last-ditch effort on Facebook’s part to meet advertising revenue budget goals for the first quarter of the year.

“We’ve confirmed with sources close to the company that Facebook is indeed behind its projections for ad revenue for the first quarter,” financial data company PrivCo CEO Sam Hamadeh told VentureBeat. “It certainly doesn’t look good for Facebook frankly.”

VentureBeat cannot independently confirm Hamadeh’s statements on the sluggish performance of Facebook’s ad business.

Documents leaked Wednesday (included below) reveal that Facebook plans to introduce an “ Upgraded Premium Ads” product that will replace its existing “Classic Premium Ads.” Facebook marketing materials suggest that the new ad formats — there are six in total — will increase an advertiser’s engagement rates by as much as 40 percent.

“These documents, coupled with other rapidly rolled out changes that boosted the pervasiveness and intrusiveness of Facebook ads…are evidence that the company is struggling to meet its financial projections as its IPO looms imminently,” a PrivCo blog post dissecting the new ad formats concluded today. “Facebook is clearly choosing to increase its ad intrusiveness and frequency to pad its numbers short-term in preparation for its IPO and first quarter results post-IPO trading, at the cost of user experience and long-term growth.”

“These are the types of actions ad-supported companies save for a Rainy Day,” Hamadeh added. “It should be a red flag for investors that Facebook apparently considers that Rainy Day to be now.”

Facebook’s advertising business is a risky one. VentureBeat previously spoke with Peter Adriaens, a professor of entrepreneurship at the University of Michigan’s Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies, who argued that the social network should have identified low click-through rates on ads as a risk in its S-1 filing with the SEC.

A report published Thursday by market research firm eMarketer projected that the social network would bring in $5.06 billion in ad revenue in 2012. The figure represents a 60 percent jump from the $3.1 billion it made from ads in 2011, but, according to eMarketer, also suggests a significant drop-off in ad revenue growth rates.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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From: Glenn Petersen2/23/2012 11:45:30 PM
   of 3024
Ad revenue growth is slowing:

Facebook’s ad revenue will hit $5B in 2012, but growth rates have peaked

Jennifer Van Grove
February 23, 2012 10:46 AM

Facebook is set for a record-shattering initial public offering and, according to a new report, it will bring in more than $5 billion in advertising revenue this year. But Facebook’s financial future may not be as bright as the eye-popping figure would at first suggest.

2011 was a banner year for Facebook in terms of advertising revenue. The social network saw 68.2 percent growth and took home $3.1 billion in ad revenue for year. In 2012, market research firm eMarketer predicts that Facebook’s ad revenue will balloon to $5.06 billion, but the figure represents just 60 percent growth over 2011 and points to a downward spiral in growth rates.

Ad revenue growth will be nearly sliced in half by 2013 and inching closer to zero by 2014, eMarketer estimates. Facebook will make $6.72 billion from ad revenue in 2013 (32.8 percent growth over 2012) and $7.64 billion in 2014 (13.7 percent growth over 2013), the firm predicts.

The dramatic decline in growth rates means that Facebook will need to radically grow its payments business to please future shareholders and continue to post strong annual revenue gains.

In 2011, just $557 million of Facebook’s revenue came from payments, and eMarketer pegged the company’s ad business as generating 85 percent of total revenue. The payments figure is, however, up fivefold over the previous year and suggests that the alternative money-maker could eventually grow to be a big and important business for Facebook.

And while Facebook’s ad revenue growth seems to have peaked, one other thing to consider is that the company is taking an even larger chunk of the overall online ad revenue market with each passing year. Facebook will account for 6.5 percent of online ad revenue in the U.S. in 2012, according to eMarketer, and will increase its share to 7.1 percent by 2013.

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