Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Reminder! Facebook Is Really, Really Big.

A reminder: When Facebook executives aren’t busy fending off privacy queries, they’re running a business. A really big one.

Guesstimating the total size of that business makes for good Web sport, and Reuters makes a run at it today: The news service pegs Facebook’s 2009 revenue at “$700 million to $800 million” and reports a “solid net profit, in the tens of millions of dollars,” citing two anonymous sources.

Those numbers are higher than other ones we’ve seen, but they don’t sound unbelievable. Facebook now boasts enormous size–half a billion users!–and at least three different revenue streams: Traditional display ads sold by a top-flight sales team, self-serve ads (check out this do-it-yourself tweak) and virtual goods (read: Zynga).

What Facebook doesn’t have, as best as I can tell: A magic moneymaking bullet a la Google’s (GOOG) AdWords. That may prevent the company from getting a Google-like market cap when and if it goes public. But I don’t think Mark Zuckerberg and company are complaining.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik