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22

Oct
2012

In News

By Contrive Media

Suddenly, Facebook seems all about the money

On 22, Oct 2012 | In News | By Contrive Media

If there’s one thing that Mark Zuckerberg has learned in Facebook’s short life as a public company, it’s that Wall Street is an unforgiving place.

The Street cares little about wide-eyed talk about making the world a more connected place. Even Facebook’s recent announcement that it now has 1 billion users — roughly a seventh of the world’s entire population — logging onto the social network at least once a month did nothing to help the stock, which now trades at about half its IPO price of $38 a share.

Wall Street, in short, wants to see the money.

It seems that Zuckerberg has gotten the message. In recent months, Facebook has rolled out product after product aimed squarely at boosting Facebook’s bottom line — from letting members send friends physical gifts to giving them the option to pay $7 to promote their posts to their Facebook friends and subscribers. Most of these efforts won’t trickle down to Facebook’s financial results when the company reports its third-quarter earnings on Tuesday. Instead, investors will be looking for words of encouragement — hopefully, with some specifics — from Zuckerbrerg and his chief lieutenants, COO Sheryl Sandberg and CFO David Ebersman.

As it stands, Wall Street expects Facebook to post quarterly revenue of $1.23 billion and earn 11 cents a share. While that would be an almost 29 percent revenue jump from the year earlier quarter, Facebook’s growth is slowing. And clearly investors are jittery: Google’s earnings miss last week emphasized the challenges from the weak economy in Europe (also a potential problem for the ad-driven Facebook) and just how fast the shift to mobile is occurring (ditto on the problem front). Shares of Facebook have fallen more than 13 percent in the last few weeks.

The mobile ‘opportunity’

When Zuckerberg took the stage at a TechCrunch conference in September, he reframed the discussion about Facebook’s mobile problem with the skill of a smooth politician. Suddenly, Facebook’s biggest challenge became a great way to “make a lot of money.” And he has since talked about mobile as Facebook’s “massive opportunity.” Opportunity or problem, it’s certainly a reality, with…

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