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Facebook is reportedly planning an IPO that could ask the market to value the company at a whopping $100bn. But are the social network's better days behind it?
For those who lived through the .com boom and bust of the late 1990s, the last decade has been interesting. The internet is now bigger, and stronger. Today's success stories, including Facebook, Groupon and Zynga, have taken center stage, and look set to cash in.
Yesterday, LinkedIn, the popular social network for professionals went public. And boy did investors party like it was 1999.
Skype may be one of the most important companies on the internet. Not only has it created a way for hundreds of millions of people around the world to communicate cheaply, it's found a way to make a mint doing so.
The company generated $400m in the first half of 2009, most of which came from its SkypeOut offering. But ahead of an IPO that it hopes will raise $1bn, the company is creating some ad inventory in its desktop client.
As consumers, techies and the media trade some of their infatuation with Google for the latest crop of super-hot web upstarts like Facebook, the world's most dominant search engine is finding that more and more people are pointing out its flaws.
The quality of Google's SERPs have increasingly come under question, with some complaining that Google isn't doing enough to weed out web spam and low-quality content that ranks well but doesn't offer consumers much value. I am one of those who have been highly critical of Google's capabilities in these areas.
Last month, beleaguered video rental chain Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy. While the company's demise can be blamed on a number of factors, it's hard to ignore one: the rise of Netflix.
Netflix, which is now an $8bn corporation trading at just over $153 per share, looks poised to capture a big part of the nascent streaming business.
There can be little doubt that there's a market for content produced by so-called content farms. And that this is having an impact on the market for online content in general.
But are content farms sprouting profits that match the popularity of their business model? Perhaps not.
Are Facebook employees who took advantage of the ability to cash out some of their stock holdings as part of a tender offer from investor Digital Sky Technologies "mercenaries"?
Controversial BusinessWeek tech reporter Sarah Lacy thinks they are. The reason: they're giving up too soon. Lacy believes the $100m tender offer, which is giving some employees the ability to sell up to 25% of their Facebook stock at a $6.5bn valuation, will prove to be a steal for Digital Sky Technologies.
The IPO market for technology startups seems all but shut these days thanks to the recession and financial system meltdown.
The bar has been raised very high; much higher than most tech startups are confident they can reach.
By almost all metrics, Facebook is the top dog in the social networking market. Even though it's now 5 years old, it's still growing like a weed and there's no reason to believe that its growth is going to subside anytime soon.
But is the company increasingly troubled?