September 29, 2012, 7:19 AM — "The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads.That sucks." - Jeff Hammerbacher, former manager of Facebook Data Team, founder of Cloudera
A couple of weeks ago here in Backspin I wrote a column titled "Facebook and Twitter and their long, slow slide into irrelevance". In that piece I discussed the problem that the leading social networks have: How to make money.
So, consider Facebook, how big is its market? Here's a sample of Facebook's statistics from the Hitwise Blog published in May this year just prior to Facebook's IPO ...
" One in every five page views in the U.S. occurred on Facebook.com
" The average visit time on Facebook.com is 20 minutes
" Facebook.com received 9% of all U.S. Internet visits in April 2012
" Users generate 340,000,000 Tweets per day
" There are 140,000,000+ active users
" 29 million unique mobile visitors visited Twitter in August
Those figures are simply amazing. You'd think with millions of users logging in to the services every day and hanging out for astounding amounts of time it wouldn't be too hard to make bank but as I pointed out in the previous column, Facebook is struggling to be profitable and the company's closing share price, today at $20.32 down just under 38% from its IPO price of $38 reflects this.
Back in July The New York Times summarized Facebook's financial performance thusly:
"The company said its revenue for the quarter climbed to $1.18 billion, from $895 million; most of it came from advertising. The company reported a net loss of $157 million, or 8 cents a share, compared with net income of $240 million, or 11 cents a share for the same quarter last year. Much of that was because of stock compensation, and on an adjusted basis, the company posted a profit of 12 cents a share, or $295 million, meeting analysts' expectations."