By MATHEW INGRAM
Facebook pulled in close to $800 million in revenue last year, according to a report from Reuters, which quoted two people “familiar with the situation.” Earlier estimates from a variety of sources have been in the $500-$700 million range, and Facebook reportedly had revenue of about $300 million in 2008. That kind of growth rate — which has likely continued through the first half of 2010, with Facebook adding more advertisers and partners such as Zynga also growing rapidly — would put the social network’s revenues well over the $1 billion mark for this year. Such a milestone is almost certain to place added pressure on CEO Mark Zuckerberg to take the company public, something he has said in the past he is not eager to do.
Advisory firm NYPPEX put Facebook’s revenue north of $700 million at the end of 2009, giving the company an implied stock market value of $7.6 billion. Other estimates have come from the secondary markets, where private firms can buy and sell their shares without having to do an IPO, and have been as high as $25 billion. In November, the company established a dual-class share structure, something Google also did in advance of going public, but Facebook said at the time that the move “should not be construed as a signal the company is planning to go public.”
According to traffic-measurement firm comScore, Facebook became the largest publisher of display ads in the U.S. earlier this year, passing former market leader Yahoo. The network hosted more than 176 billion display ads, comScore said, up from just 70 billion a year earlier. The latest figure gives the company more than 16 percent of the display advertising market, and according to some industry observers it will surpass MySpace this year in the amount of revenue it brings in from advertising. Facebook’s user base has also continued to grow rapidly; it recently passed the 400 million user mark and is expected to cross the half-billion mark soon.