Inside Facebook reports (but can’t confirm) that TripAdvisor has bought a Facebook app called “Where I’ve Been” for $3 million — or about $1.30 for each of its 2.4 million users. As Inside Facebook itself points out, that’s a 30x increase on the 4.6 cents per user photosharing site Slide paid for an app two months ago–a factoid that is far less relevant than it would be if Facebook apps hadn’t been embryonic at that point.
Mashable instantly declared this price “INSANITY!,” but this may be premature: many mere business plans are valued at more than $3mm, and Facebook had barely launched its app platform three months ago. Let’s assume there is indeed a way to monetise the users, via advertising or perhaps lead-gen. Then the key is attrition: If “Where I’ve Been” users do what many other Facebook app users do, which is try apps and then abandon them, the $3mm might indeed be loopy. If they stick around, however, and if the app’s growth rate is sustainable, then $3mm is a steal. Inside Facebook
UPDATE: A TripAdvisor PR person says the report is “untrue”. But that’s a deliberately vague response. There may well still be a deal, but it’s not done yet, or at a different price.