Facebook shares down 31 percent since IPO 1 year ago – Facebook shares closed today at $26.25, up $0.12 from yesterday but down 31 percent since the company’s initial public offering on May 18, 2012. Despite a new focus on monetization, particularly on mobile, Facebook hasn’t instilled confidence in investors in its first year as a public company. Many of its recent products, such as Gifts, Graph Search and Home, have launched to mixed reviews. And with all still in limited release, none has emerged as a clear source of future revenue. Still, Facebook has gone from having no ads on mobile to having mobile account for about 30 percent of all advertising revenue in the first quarter of this year.
Facebook breaks into Fortune 500 – Facebook has made its first appearance on the Fortune 500 list at No. 482 this year. The Fortune 500 is a yearly list of top U.S. companies. Facebook ranks sixth out of the seven companies in the category of Internet services and retailing, joining Amazon (No. 49), Google (55), eBay (196), Liberty Interactive (270), Priceline (473), and Yahoo (494). Last year, Facebook was outside of the list at No. 598. CEO Mark Zuckerberg is the youngest CEO of companies on the list, and he’s one of only two CEOs under 40.
Reports: Facebook could be looking to buy Waze – A number of outlets with anonymous sources say Facebook is considering an acquisition of Waze, the crowd-sourced traffic and navigation app. The news was first reported by Israeli business publication Calcalist. TechCrunch and AllThingsD say they have sources corroborating the story. Earlier this year, there were rumors that Apple was looking to acquire the company, but it turned out Waze was simply a partner for its Maps app. Waze has more than 40 million users and has raised $67 million from investors including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byer.
Facebook speeds up Recommendations Bar – Facebook engineer Stoyan Stefanov this week detailed his efforts to improve the Recommendations Bar plugin. The plugin, which shows personalized recommendations to web visitors, now starts to render in half the time as before and is twice as fast overall. Stefanov also improved the payload 7x and reduced the number of requests by one-third. This follows other recent improvements to the Like button, Send button, Facepile and Likebox. By improving the speed and performance of its plugins, Facebook improves the millions of websites that incorporate them. Details about the improvements, along with before and after comparisons are available on Stefanov’s blog here.
Facebook today reported $1.458 billion in revenue for the first quarter of 2013 ended Marc 31 — an increase of 38 percent, compared with $1.06 billion in the first quarter of 2012. Earnings per share were $0.12, basically flat compared to Q1 2012.
Analysts were expecting 13 cents per share on revenue of $1.44 billion, meaning Facebook beat revenue estimates but just missed on profits.
Revenue from advertising was $1.25 billion, or 85 percent of total revenue. That’s a 43 percent increase from the same quarter last year and likely due in part to mobile growth. Mobile advertising revenue represented about 30 percent of all advertising revenue in Q1.
Revenue from payments fees was $213 million in Q3 2013, compared to $186 million in the same period the year before.
Facebook addresses privacy questions about Home – Facebook today shared its answers to common privacy questions users might have about Home, the social network’s latest development for Android. Home is optional software that makes Facebook features more integrated into a user’s device. The company says it does not have any of a user’s privacy settings and that all data collected by the service is covered by Facebook’s existing Data Use Policy. Home collects information about how people use the service, such as whether they Like a photo, send a message or launch an app. That information is stored for 90 days in order for Facebook to understand how people are responding to the app and how it could be improved. Facebook says Home does not treat location information any differently than the existing Facebook app. Users can also turn off location services completely. More about Home and privacy is available here.
Facebook stock up after Home announcement – Facebook shares closed at $27.39 this week, up 7 percent since Monday. The stock hasn’t been above $27 per share since March 14. Shares fell beneath $26 earlier in the week as rumors swirled about whether Facebook was launching its own phone or developing a modified version of Android. Wall Street seemed pleased with the company’s decision to release software that could run on a number of devices to make them more social, while also partnering with HTC, AT&T and others to ensure that Home comes preloaded on some new phones.
Facebook, Gates Foundation to sponsor hackathon - Facebook and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are partnering to organize HackEd, two hackathon events this month to address problems in education. Developers will build Facebook-integrated tools for “social learning,” “out-of-school study” and “college-going.” One event will be at Facebook HQ in California April 9. The other will be its London offices April 24. Winners could take home up to $5,000. This is the second year Facebook and the Gates Foundation have put on this event. Last year it was in California only.
Facebook open sources benchmarking tool – Facebook this week released LinkBench, an open source tool for benchmarking graph databases. LinkBench allows developers to replicate the data model, graph structure and request mix of Facebook’s own MySQL workload, while being customizable and extensible for their specific needs. Tim Armstrong, computer science PhD candidate who led the project during an internship at Facebook, said, “We also believe that the broader community working on databases and social applications can benefit from a realistic benchmark for storage and retrieval of social network and other graph-structured data. These applications place many unique demands on database infrastructure due to rapid growth, large volumes of data, and rich data models, yet there are few benchmarks that test performance for these workloads.” LinkBench is available on GitHub.
Facebook users change profile picture show support for same sex marriage – As the U.S. Supreme Court met this week to address same-sex marriage, the Human Rights Campaign encouraged users to change their profile pictures to an image of a pink equal sign on a red background in support of marriage equality. Since then, the image and hundreds of variations of it have gone viral across the social network. Facebook’s data science team found that there was a 120 percent increase in profile photo changes on Tuesday after the HRC launched its campaign compared to the previous Tuesday. More stats are available in a note here.
Report: Zuckerberg gets political - Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is reportedly involved in forming a political advocacy organization with other Silicon Valley executives, including Joe Green, co-founder of NationBuilder and Causes, who was Zuckerberg’s roommate at Harvard. The group is expected to work to influence issues related to immigration, education reform and the economy. Zuckerberg has reportedly pledged as much as $20 million to support the Super PAC.
Amazon buys Goodreads – Amazon this week announced its plans to acquire Goodreads, a social reading community and book recommendation platform that integrates with Facebook’s Open Graph. The service will continue to operate under the Goodreads name and its CEO Otis Chandler. Amazon reportedly paid $150 million for Goodreads, which has 16 million members.
PMD Marin Software goes public – Ad tech company Marin Software today went public after raising $105 million from an initial public offering priced at $14 per share. The stock opened at $19 per share and closed at $16.26. Marin began in 2006 as a paid search company, but was an early Facebook Ads API partner in 2010, and it continues to hold an ads badge as part of the social network’s Preferred Marketing Developer program.
Facebook updates mobile SDKs - Facebook this week released version 3.2.1 of the Facebook SDK for iOS and version 3.0 for Android. Both include a number of bug fixes and other improvements. The iOS SDK now supports frictionless requests without importing the deprecated headers. More information is available from the company’s developer site.
A U.S. district judge today dismissed four cases brought against Facebook by shareholders claiming the company failed to disclose material information ahead of its initial public offering in May 2012, according to Reuters.
U.S. District Judge Robert Sweet in Manhattan said the investors did not have grounds to sue because they were not Facebook shareholders at the time the alleged wrongdoing occurred. However, a number of other claims are still being brought against the social network, and the plaintiffs could file new “derivative” versions of their cases within 20 days.
Plaintiffs claim Facebook hid facts from investors and potential investors about how its growth projections would suffer from increased mobile usage. However, Judge Sweet said the company had indeed ”repeatedly made express and extensive warnings” about mobile usage trends and potential effects on revenue growth.
In a separate ruling, Sweet decided that a proposed class action against NASDAQ OMX Group for damages related to Facebook’s IPO should stay in his court. The plaintiff had wanted the case to be returned to the New York State Supreme Court. Investors say they suffered losses because of glitches in NASDAQ’s system on the first day of Facebook trading.
That case is In re Facebook, Inc, IPO Securities and Derivative Litigation, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, MDL No. 12-2389.
Two social marketing platform companies announced new funding today. Spredfast has raised $18 million in a venture capital round led by OpenView Venture Partners, and Sprinklr has raised $15 million in series B funding from Intel Capital and Battery Ventures.
Spredfast offers social media management software for the enterprise, including tools for publishing, monitoring, engagement and reporting across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and more. It allows teams to create a workflow and permissions model for different projects, maintain a centralized content calendar and share assets in a content library. The company has badges for apps and pages in Facebook’s Preferred Marketing Developer Program.
In the past year, Spredfast has signed on AT&T, Caterpillar, Rackspace and Starbucks, and expanded relationships with AAA, T. Rowe Price, Whole Foods Market and Warner Brothers. The company reports 400 percent revenue growth and a doubling in employee headcount in 2012.
This is the third venture capital round for the Austin-based company. This latest round was led by OpenView Venture Partners, with additional investment from existing investors Austin Ventures and InterWest Partners. Spredfast has now raised a total of $31.6 million since 2010, according to Crunchbase.
Sprinklr is another PMD with apps and pages badges. Its platform allows marketers and other stakeholders to collaborate across a number of channels. It offers governance tools to help brands manage different divisions of their business, keeping them organized and compliant but also free to manage day-to-day interactions with their audience and customers.
Sprinklr says it works with more than 200 household brands, including 1-800-Flowers, Intel, Dell, Virgin America, Cisco Systems, Samsung, Hearst, Newell Rubbermaid, Sears and Toys “R” Us. The company also reports 400 percent year over year growth.
Battery Ventures was also behind the New York company’s $5 million venture round last year.
27M users bought virtual goods using Facebook Payments in 2012; Zynga’s influence on revenue further diminishes
Approximately 27 million users bought virtual goods using Facebook Payments in 2012, up from 15 million in 2011, according to a document the company filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission today.
Facebook generated $810 million in payments revenue in 2012. CFO David Ebersman said only $5 million of that came from sources outside of games, such as Gifts and user promoted posts. Overall, payments and other fees revenue in 2012 increased $253 million, or 45 percent, compared to 2011, despite close to doubling the number of users buying virtual goods.
That could be because of Facebook’s promotions to get more users spending money in games. Although the volume of paying users increased, it the amount new payers spend could be much less than other players. Another factor could be growth in international markets. Facebook says 51 percent of its revenue from marketers and developers based in the United States, compared to 56 percent in 2011. This figure includes advertising revenue as well, but international developers are increasingly finding success on the social network and the overall number of international users is growing much faster than in the U.S.
Facebook today reported $1.59 billion in revenue for the fourth quarter of 2012 ended Dec. 31 — a 40 percent increase from the $1.13 billion reported in Q4 2011. Net income was $64 million down year-over-year from $302 million, but up from the net loss of $59 million in Q3 2012. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) earnings per share (EPS) for the fourth quarter was $0.03, compared to $0.14 for the same quarter in the prior year.
Revenue from advertising was $1.33 billion, representing 84 percent of total revenue and a 41 percent increase from the same quarter last year. Payments and other fees revenue for the fourth quarter was $256 million.
Monthly active users (MAUs) were 1.06 billion as of Dec. 31, 2012, an increase of 25 percent year-over-year. Daily active users (DAUs) were 618 million on average for December 2012, an increase of 28 percent year-over-year. Mobile MAUs were 680 million as of Dec. 30, 2012, an increase of 57 percent year-over-year.
Mobile revenue represented approximately 23 percent of advertising revenue for the fourth quarter of 2012, up from approximately 14 percent of advertising revenue in the third quarter of 2012.
Although ad revenues have been increasing significantly, particularly on mobile, the growth of Facebook’s payments business has been stagnant. Adjusting for $66 million of additional revenue in the month of December because of accounting reasons, Payments and other fees revenue remained flat year-over-year.
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