A look at Facebook a year after its IPO

Facebook, already frequently criticized with regards to user privacy, has now come under fire for a clandestine study it conducted on users' emotional disposition when reading tailored newsfeeds.

On Saturday, it’ll  be a year ago since Facebook had its IPO.

When it came out the gate, it was valued at about $100 billion dollars making it one of the most highly valued IPOs of all time. The only problem was, it wasn’t making much money. And that had  a lot of investors concerned.

So how’s it doing now?

Let’s start with the co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his famous “hoodie.” Michael Pachter is an analyst at Wedbush Securities.

Before the IPO, he told Bloomberg that, “Mark and his signature hoodie, I mean he’s actually showing investors he doesn’t care that much... and I think that’s a mark of immaturity.”

What does he think today?

“I’m pretty confident that getting married changed him, as it does all of us. The guy just grew up overnight,” Pachter said.

Zuckerberg got married soon after the IPO.

“Since that day, every single time he’s spoken in public he’s talked about monetization. And he talks about better monetizing mobile,” Pachter said.  

That bring us to Wall Street’s changing attitude toward Facebook. At the IPO Facebook didn’t really have a mobile money-making plan, said Clark Fredricksen, a researcher at e-Marketer.

“Last year Facebook went from zero mobile-ad revenues to leading the mobile display ad market by the end of 2012,” he said. Fredrickson expects that by the end of this year, the social network will have about 30 percent of the mobile display-ad market, ahead of Google.

But not everything has worked. In the past year, Facebook introduced lots of products that haven’t really taken off. There’s “gifts,” which allows you to buy stuff for you friends and Home, an app that turns an Android into a Facebook phone Zachary Reiss-Davis, an analyst at Forrester, said Facebook’s success in mobile has bought it some time.

“They clearly want to maintain their status as a nimble company willing to try new things and experiment,” Reiss-Davis said.

So what do the users think? There’s still a lot of talk about how Facebook has to be careful not to be too salesy or it might lose users.

Erica Terry-Derrick has  been on Facebook for about five years now. She knows Facebook is using her data to sell ads but she’s used to it.  

“I just think it’s part and parcel of the world we live in right now,” she said. She adds that it’s just like TV only not as loud.

About the author

Queena Kim covers technology for Marketplace. She lives in the Bay Area.

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