MediaFile

from Paul Smalera:

Facebook.coop

Facebook shouldn't pay its users. Its users should pay to own Facebook.

“Facebook was not originally created to be a company,” founder Mark Zuckerberg wrote in his letter to investors announcing the IPO of his already hugely successful and profitable company. “It was built to accomplish a social mission — to make the world more open and connected.”

Facebook has succeeded wildly, despite internal admonitions that its “journey” is only 1 percent finished. Journalists have latched onto Zuckerberg’s statement that Facebook wants to “rewire” the way the world works. In a world of thousands of self-anointed “social media experts,” only Zuckerberg can claim to have basically invented what the world thinks of as social media. He has etched himself into the timeline of human innovation.

Pity then, that Zuckerberg hasn’t turned his talents or attention toward Facebook’s financial underpinnings. After all, an IPO? How ho-hum can he get? If Mark really wants to accomplish his social mission with Facebook, he should share the company’s ownership with the people who helped him create it. Not just his Harvard contemporaries. Not just the programmers. Not even just the venture capitalists.

I’m talking about us. All of us. The users. Facebook should be a user-owned, user-managed company, run for the benefit of users. For the Facebook, by the Facebook. The company should be a cooperative.

Before I explain further, let me lay out the case in four simple points:

1. Facebook won’t necessarily get rich as a public company. LinkedIn, the grown-up social network, IPO’d last year, but is now down from its initial price after having had a big pop on its first days of trading. Zynga and Groupon, meanwhile, lost ground on their IPO prices as soon as they hit the markets. Tech journalism might work itself into a froth over a company’s earnings potential, but the broader market is still confused as to how to price these companies.

Corporate co-dependence: when good partnerships go bad

One of the biggest surprises in Facebook’s IPO filing was that it depended on game-maker Zynga  for 12 percent of its sales last year.

In 2010, the online game company famous for “FarmVille” and “Words With Friends” nearly declared war with the social network over a change in Facebook’s policy involving credits — the currency Zynga players use to buy virtual goods. Facebook wanted to take a 30 percent cut of transactions.

Bing Gordon, a video game veteran, Zynga board member and partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, described the standoff during the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in May as a Silicon Valley version of the Cuban Missile crisis, where Zynga was at one point prepared to walk away from Facebook.

Facebook, is this the best you can do?

In the world of Internet IPOs, it doesn’t get bigger than this: Facebook, the world’s biggest social network, files for the biggest ever Internet IPO! On first glance, everything about it seems outsize: The company’s raising $5 billion! It made $3.7 billion in revenue last year! And $1 billion in net income! Even the stated mission — “to make the world more open and connected” — is impossibly expansive. It’s all so expectedly huge it’s almost bland.

Here’s the thing about the big, honking 187-page prospectus Facebook filed late Wednesday. Once you dig past those headline numbers, the company itself ends up looking pretty unremarkable — kind of like the lives portrayed in the typical Facebook timeline. You end up wondering if its best years aren’t already behind it.

Facebook’s revenue grew 69 percent in 2010. That’s down from 154 percent in 2009, but still not bad at all. It’s much better than the 29 percent growth rate Google saw last year, and close to the 68 percent growth rate for Apple. But those companies are much larger (Facebook’s 2011 revenue was less than 3 percent of Apple’s). And for Facebook, there are signs that its growth rate is already starting to slow dramatically.

Introducing Reuters Social Pulse

Today we launched Social Pulse, our new social media hub on Reuters.com designed to show you the most talked-about news, companies and influencers across the Web.

The first thing you’ll see on the page is the news most popular in Reuters social network. Our journalists and official Twitter accounts follow everyone from Nouriel Roubini and Jenna Wortham to John McCain and Rachel Sterne, and these are the stories being talked about by the newsmakers we follow. The technical detective work is done by Percolate, a social news service that powers Felix Salmon & Ryan McCarthy’s Counterparties.com.

Next you’ll see our stock sentiment module, featuring opinions from hundreds of thousands of sources captured and curated by WiseWindow. WiseWindow is not simply a keyword analysis tool, but a complex system that uses statistical techniques and natural language processing to deliver data that is not only real-time but predictive as well. The chart is populated by share-of-voice readings, so depending on which companies are being talked about most that day, it will adapt.

Full text: Facebook’s IPO filing

Full text of Facebook’s S-1 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Facebook’s IPO filing(function() { var scribd = document.createElement("script"); scribd.type = "text/javascript"; scribd.async = true; scribd.src = "http://www.scribd.com/javascripts/embed_code/inject.js"; var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(scribd, s); })();

IPOverload: Facebook goes public

The least suspenseful waiting game in Silicon Valley is now over, thank heavens. Facebook, which began as a decidedly private Harvard hangout, has begun the process of going absolutely, totally, unabashedly public.

Facebook filed for an initial public offering with the SEC Wednesday, which means we have the first raw glimpse of its financials. Advertising makes up 85 percent of its $3.7 billion in annual revenue. And it took in $1 billion of income in 2011. For more of the best data points, see my colleague Anthony De Rosa’s rundown.

Facebook is synonymous with the Internet in many ways: It boasts more than 10 percent of the world’s population as active users and has realizable ambitions to be the preeminent vetting service on the Net, making a “Like” as powerful and capricious as Caesar’s opposable thumb.

Omniture founder lands another $20 million for Domo

Just a few months after lining up $33 million in funding for his enterprise-software start-up Domo, Omniture founder Josh James has raised another $20 million, this time from Institutional Venture Partners.

“This is a pretty straightforward investment thesis,” said IVP general partner Todd Chaffee. “It’s called Josh James.” Chaffee invested in web-analytics business Omniture, which James sold to Adobe Systems for $1.8 billion in 2009, so he is familiar with James’s drive.

James’s new company, Domo, offers business analytics that can handle large amounts of data across different types of platforms. He’s selling it as a service, meaning companies can skip hefty up-front licensing fees in favor of pay-as-you go plans.

More 3D coming to ESPN

Sports network ESPN is forging ahead with plans for more 3D television programming, despite the fact the technology is moving slowly into homes.

ESPN President John Skipper, speaking at a conference sponsored by the Wall Street Journal’s All Things Digital blog, said the Walt Disney-owned network would produce up to 150 programs this year in 3D. Skipper acknowledged 3D television is “not a mass phenomenon” but said “with most things, there’s disappointment toward adoption before a rush to adoption.”

For ESPN, which moved quickly into mobile and now commands 70 percent of the market for mobile sports programming, “we want to be leaders” in new technologies. Skipper said ESPN is “getting pretty close to a single truck and a single set of equipment” to be able to produce shows in “5D” – 2D and 3D formats shot at the same time.

Zynga’s Pincus fights back against copycat accusations

Mark Pincus, the CEO of Zynga, isn’t pleased with reports that Zynga is ripping off games from small developers so he is doing something about it–wielding his pen to write passionate manifestos to employees invoking Silicon Valley greats like Apple.

After a game developer accused Zynga of copying a game called “Tiny Tower”,  Pincus sent a 60-line memo to employees to make sure his flock knows Zynga has done nothing wrong, (the memo was leaked to the blog VentureBeat and later obtained by Reuters).

“Google didn’t create the first search engine. Apple didn’t create the first mp3 player or tablet. And, Facebook didn’t create the first social network. But these companies have evolved products and categories in revolutionary ways.”

Neil Young: iPod inventor Jobs preferred vinyl

Neil Young wants a convenient digital device to play music — like an iPod — but with higher-quality sound than consumers hear now with digitally compressed files.

The rock legend — whose ‘Heart of Gold’,  ‘Old Man’ and many others are still top-sellers on iTunes — said he had discussed the idea with late Apple CEO Steve Jobs, and that he and Jobs were working on the issue before he died.

Although Jobs was “a pioneer in digital music and his legacy is tremendous, when he went home he listened to vinyl,” Young said on Tuesday at a conference sponsored by the Wall Street Journal’s All Things Digital blog. “You’ve got to believe if he lived, he would have done what I’m trying to do,” Young added.