Inside Facebook reveals all
Facebook's revenues have been tipped to break the $1 billion (£664 million) barrier in news that underlines the growing value of social media marketing.
As a private company, Facebook is under no obligation to publish any financial details. But that hasn't stopped Inside Facebook, a four-year-old independent blog from Inside Network in California, trying to establish the true situation at the world's largest networking site.
According to Inside Facebook, sources estimate that the company will generate total revenues of between $1 billion (£664m) and $1.1 billion (£733m) in 2010. To put that into context, it reportedly notched up between $600 million (£400m) and $700 million (£466m) last year, and between $280 million (£186m) and $300 million (£199m) in 2008.
Facebook revenue streams compared
There is also a fascinating window into exactly how Facebook makes its money. According to estimates from Inside Facebook, the biggest revenue stream at the end of 2009 was performance advertising (£233 million) in which ad costs are dependent on results. The second largest model was traditional brand advertising (£150 million), which came in a long way ahead of Microsoft advertising (£33 million) and virtual goods (£6.6 million).
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Facebook has refused to confirm or deny the figures. "We understand there is a great deal of interest and curiosity in our past and potential financial performance," it said in a statement. "However, external attempts to forecast revenue are fundamentally speculative and should be treated as such. We're focused on building our business to be successful over the long term."
In related news, a new Facebook application has been launched that allows users to swap money online. Buxter, from web payment specialist ClickandBuy, already handles US dollars and Euros but will accept Sterling within the next month.