Facebook worth more than $XX billion, say people with a vested interest in Facebook

Quiz time: Facebook  is worth how many billions of dollars?

  1. 3.7
  2. 9.5
  3. 23
  4. 33

facebook_dollar Different people have given all of the above answers and a lot of other places have published them as fact, even though these numbers are are self-serving and cannot be verified. The first two are by Facebook itself, in February and November of last year. The third is from Forbes and the last one is from the Financial Times – and all of them are totally, completely untrustworthy. Why? Well, let’s look at how Forbes’ Steve Bertoni put it: “Recent private equity investments in Facebook valued the firm at around $23 billion–more than triple its 2009 value of $7 billion.” Now why would anyone who had invested in a company possibly say that company is worth far more than previously reported? Hmmmmm. 

Facebook is a private company, so no one outside of a select few really know how much money – if any – Facebook is making. But even it’s self-reported numbers don’t sustain valuations that give it a market cap of between $23B and $33B. By way of comparison, eBay’s market cap is $32B. As Mashable so ably puts it

Facebook is still a private company that hasn’t completely figured out the profit equation. While it should surpass $1 billion in revenue this year, its infrastructure costs are also high. eBay, while not as sexy, brought in $2.215 billion in revenue during just the second quarter of this year.

What is appalling is that how many business publications are willing collaborators in this absurd deception. I am glad to see that the Wall Street Journal seems to have learned its lesson about this (see Twitter valued at $1 Billion say people with a vested interest in Twitter). H.L. Mencken had a simple rule of thumb for reporting a story like this: “It is hard to believe that a man is telling the truth when you know that you would lie if you were in his place.”

Yes, it is all about me

In case you wonder what I’ve been up to at my new job …

The Dangers Of Being Too Social
by Lisa LaMotta @ Forbes.com

… These sites can also be a huge waste of time. According to comScore, people spend an average of 186 minutes on Facebook per session. (To be fair, a lot of those visitors are letting the program run in the background while they perform other tasks–but three hours is still a long time.) Some companies are flat out banning use of these sites at work. And earlier this year, Sen. Matt Murphy, R-Ill., introduced a bill to prohibit public libraries and schools from allowing access to social networking sites on any computers available to the public and students. …

Derek Sorensen, 47, is happy to tell (or alarm) you. Prompted by a friend who lamented how much time she wasted on social networks, Sorensen, owner of a Web site repair company 50 miles outside of London, came up with Notworking, an application you can download to your desktop that will tally all of those wasted hours and dollars.

“I think it’s a fun little tool,” says Constantine von Hoffman, social media manager for Spoke Software, a business social networking site, and clearly a fan of irony. “It is a brilliant piece of commentary on how the huge number of network sites are becoming a problem.”

PS: That’s not a good thumbnail description of Spoke, but that’s my fault not the reporter’s.

The URL for Notworking is http://dereksorensen.com/?p=28 and it's great.

Just a quick one before I go

Headlines I never expected to see: Free Trade Pacts Are Bad For Business. What makes it so unexpected? It’s from Forbes.

GM sold GMAC? But that was the only part of the company that actually made money…

Previously I reported that the word games at Neopets didn’t recognize the words sex or cards – add id to that list says CollateralDamageJR ™. Where the bloody hell did a 9.5 year old learn the word id?

David “The Book Thief of Lenovo” Churbuck has discovered a web site specializing in “bus plunge journalism.” Has to be read to be believed.

me me meEver wondered what I look like? I didn’t think so, but this is a pretty good representation. Gotta love the photo booth at the bowling alley. Stat land: The Krispy Kreme burger entry continues to be the most read thing here on the site. You people continue to be weird. Tuesday saw the most visits ever to the site, nearly a third more than usual. Maybe folks like what they saw ‘cuz the numbers have stayed up for the rest of the week. If you like the site, please pass the word along about it. If you don’t please leave a really, angry post. I love those.