Monday, June 16, 2008

And You Thought Gasoline Is Expensive?!?!


(Big Brother, Portrait by Tiner).

Yes, gasoline will probably reach $5 USD a gallon this summer. Shocking? Yes, considering it was only around $1 USD a gallon six years ago. Ah, the good old days, when $20 would fill up your SUV and you would still have change for a Double Double, lotto ticket or a cold one.

If you think gasoline prices are overvalued, then you will be shocked by the value of Web 2.0 entities, in particular Facebook applications. According to Adonomics, a website that assigns monetary value to Facebook applications, the most popular and expensive application is Super Wall. The application has over 2.2 million active users and is valued at over $30 million USD. In fact, the majority of the top ten applications are valued at over $8 million. Yes, this makes the price of gasoline seem trivial in comparison.

Today marks the start of The Supernova Conference, a symposium that "brings together business, government, and technology thought leaders to understand how decentralization and pervasive connectivity are changing our world" (Kevin Werbach, Host of Supernova). Basically, a bunch of programmers, financiers, entrepreneurs and bloggers are meeting to discuss the direction of Web 2.0. During part of the conference, they will discuss the valuation of Web 2.0.

Remember Web 1.0 in the late 1990s, when you could nearly invest in any .com stock and double your money in a year? ...What happened? ....The bubble crashed around the start of the new millennium. ...Several .coms went under, Wall Street lost money and a few .coms (Amazon, Yahoo, MSN, etc.) held strong and survived.

Do you think we are on a similar crash course with Web 2.0?

Well lets take a look at the valuation of popular Web 2.0 social networking sites:
  • In 2005, Robert Murdoch purchases EUniverse (the parent company of Myspace) for $580 million, which valued Mypace around $370 million.
  • In October 2007, Microsoft purchased a 1.6% share of Facebook for $246 million, which valued Facebook at $15 billion.
  • Over valued? You be the judge. Remember Friendster? In 2003, it was valued at $53 million and is now valued at 1/20 its initial price.
Is Facebook's devaluation to follow? Well, the company is going to burn through approximately another $100 million in cash this year for servers, which means it will have to pay $350 million when it is eventually sold or its stock goes public. That's approximately the same price Myspace was acquired for three years ago.

It's ironic that Facebook applications initially triggered a popularity surge. Users were excited to integrate them into their profile and differentiate themselves from other profiles. ...Facebook successfully leveraged the ego of Generation-Y.

Last year the sky was the limit for Facebook, but this year it may be falling ....Ask yourself how many applications you have added to your profile. 1? 2?...Maybe 5 at the most, but there are over 29,000 of them to date. Ironically, application SPAM is considered one of the possible causes in Facebook user decline starting from the beginning of 2008, when its growth fell from December 2007 to January 2008, its first decline since its launch in 2004. ...And it still has not surpassed Myspace in user activity for the longterm. ...Does this mean that Myspace is valued at $15 billion, because it still receives more traffic then Facebook? ...Probably not, but what an amazing short term investment for Mr. Murdoch, if it is.

If you are feeling the pain at the pump, you are not alone. Gasoline prices are expensive, overvalued and apparently Web 2.0 entities may be as well.

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