So much for half-baked rumors of a Facebook exodus. Facebook has turned a profit for the first time since Mark Zuckerberg founded the company in a Harvard dorm room five years ago. How exactly? Reports say the money comes from applications sold through the website and online advertising. That's weird, because when I look at the column of ads next to my Facebook profile it's basically thumbnails of dudes asking me to turn my face into a cartoon. "Cartoonize yourself" to profit? Whatever works, Zuck.
Oh, this seems the be the key: Users have tripled to 300 million in the last year. That's a lot of moms.
A public offering could still be a few years away, but this is huge news. In May 2009, Facebook was valued at $6.5 billion when it received a $200 million investment from a Russian investment firm. By comparison, the last fund-raising round for Twitter valued the comapany at $1 billion. It should be cautioned, however, that the value of social media sites can fluctuate pretty wildly. Three years ago, MySpace was valued as highly as $20 billion. Today it's considered an albatross around the neck of News Corp.
That said, I don't think Facebook is on the MySpace path to social media pariah. If anything, it's only taken its baby steps along the winding road toward world domination.