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Facebook Stock Going Public? 118

zmaragdus writes "Facebook Inc. converted its existing stock holdings into different classes of stocks (Class A and Class B) designed to give certain shareholders more power than others. This has been typically done in an IPO of a company's stock to give important people (company founders, for instance) more clout in the actions of the company when stock is first offered to the public. While Facebook maintains that it does not plan to offer stock publicly in the near future, this restructuring is one of the critical steps in doing so."
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Facebook Stock Going Public?

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  • Re:hmm (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @09:40PM (#30232794)

    I like this.

    I enjoy this for another reason.

    This reminds me of the old bubble, where companies who exist merely on advertising go public. Lots of people get hyped about it; eventually everyone realizes that it's a waste of money and the company goes under.

    Hopefully history repeats itself, and like all of the dot-com bubble companies, facebook will be no more.

  • by greensoap ( 566467 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @10:27PM (#30233132)
    I am not a fan of Facebook, but lets think about what you said. What other site has risen to the level of popularity that Facebook has? And have those sites disappeared or lost popularity? We can start with Yahoo I suppose. Still huge, still around, and a completely different set of services offered. Geocities? eh, maybe but they were only popular with a segment of the internet population at a time when being on the internet was not cool. (Plus I never cared for Geocitie's pages) MySpace? While certainly their status has declined, hey are still kicking. Plus, Facebook actually pre-existed MySpace, then experienced a decline to MySpace, and has now far surpassed MySpace.

    I would argue that AIM and ICQ are the closest analogies. Except that Facebook replaced them. Those services were designed to connect people and now Facebook does that (arguably better). Sure some people still use those services, but a lot of people just use Facebook for those things.

    I guess my point is, please name the flash-in-the-pan popular sites you are referring to that have reached Facebook's level of pervasiveness in society? I only ask, because I have been on the net since '90 and cannot think of another and I am really trying. I am not saying there isn't a site out there that I am forgetting or that there isn't a site that I never knew about, but I would be really surprised.

    Slashdot has been around a long time and has a dedicated following, is it a flash-in-the-pan popular site? I mean, /. is really a place for people who were/are on the forefront of the emergence of the Net into our lives. Can anyone think of any single site that crosses more culture, economic, or age brackets? Say what you want, but they did something right. And picking themselves up from their bootstraps to comeback from near-defeat at the hands of MySpace is something to be respected.
  • by FooAtWFU ( 699187 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @10:41PM (#30233206) Homepage
    Facebook is also a lot better at keeping itself current on the Web than properties like MySpace and AIM. AIM took care to lock down its protocols to outside agencies, trying to use it to build the AOL brand - but it wasn't strong enough, so it backfired, and that didn't help much. MySpace as a site is a stinking pile of garbage - not even the people, just the HTML - they can't do technically interesting things. Facebook, on the other hand, has done significant outreach to developers, even beyond stupidity like Mafia Wars. Significant sites are on board. Heck, you can log on to external sites with your Facebook account now. That's federated identity management, Kyle! And things like the infamous Beacon - despised by some, sure, but definitely a sign that they're extending their reach into interesting places. (To potential shareholders, that is.)

    Twitter has a bit of a shot but I think it's a little too much of a one-trick-wonder. If there's one social-media-networking thingy today that's got serious money potential, I'd say Facebook is it.

  • Re:hmm (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @11:03PM (#30233366)
    You have to realize there are a -lot- of companies that exist mostly on advertising (Google anyone?) and are doing great. The reason why Facebook shouldn't offer public stock is mostly because it can't -do- much. Yeah, it has applications (and this alone will help Facebook make at least enough to break even or make a small profit) but who is going to pay for a crappy web application? A few people might buy some "limited edition" items in Farmville, but who is going to pay for access to Farmville (and that is about the only way that Facebook itself could get a cut of the funds) itself? Facebook has a lot of data, but selling that data would run afoul of some privacy laws and give Facebook lots of bad press. Facebook users have also all united against paying for it, the fact that it is web based means that if they charged for Facebook Mobile a third-party application could arise. Facebook can improve a lot, it is notoriously unreliable, chat only works half the time, and other features randomly break. But as for branching out in multiple areas like Google has done, I don't think Facebook can do that.
  • Re:hmm (Score:5, Interesting)

    by caffeinemessiah ( 918089 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @11:04PM (#30233370) Journal

    Once it's a public company, it has a fiduciary responsibility to bend its users over to try and get as much money for its shareholders as it can.

    Here's an interesting thing they could think of. Ask users to pay a small monthly fee to see who views their profiles. Sure, it'll drive a lot of people off the site, but Facebook is so ingrained in the lives of a certain demographic that it would feed of insecurities and fears and certainly generate a decent monthly revenue. The same insecurities and fears would ensure that a user pool never disappears, since getting off Facebook would deprive you of OMG! why is Sheila dressed like a tramp!??

  • WTF (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @11:23PM (#30233474)

    Thanks, asshole, for referencing an article behind a paywall. (Yes, I could pay $1.99, but NO I won't. WSJ is not worth it.)

  • by GWBasic ( 900357 ) <slashdot@andrewr ... com minus author> on Thursday November 26, 2009 @12:37AM (#30233840) Homepage

    Facebook is trying to go public. About a month ago, one of their recruiters was trying to get me to sign an NDA for an on-site interview; and he refereed to their impending IPO as the justification for the NDA.

    I didn't sign the NDA.

  • Re:hmm (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nacturation ( 646836 ) * <> on Thursday November 26, 2009 @03:24AM (#30234558) Journal

    Facebook could easily develop a microtransaction API. $10.00 = 1000 credits. Buying something in an app might cost 5 credits (aka 5 cents), which is impossible to bill for via credit card due to all the fees. So Facebook can start keeping a credit bank, and apps could debit your account based on purchases you authorize. Facebook takes a 20% cut.

  • by u38cg ( 607297 ) <> on Thursday November 26, 2009 @03:43AM (#30234642) Homepage
    Indeed. The point about Facebook is that they have effectively reimplemented everything that most people use the internet *for*: staying in touch, sharing photos, chat, email, and propagating news and links. If they manage this effectively and keep their network effect, I can't really see them losing significant ground.

Love may laugh at locksmiths, but he has a profound respect for money bags. -- Sidney Paternoster, "The Folly of the Wise"