Wall Street's Best Facebook Analyst: Valleywag

The new editor of Valleywag, Owen Thomas, has been doing a fine job after taking over for the irreplaceable Nick Denton, but today he’s really scored.  A helpful tipster sent Thomas a purported copy of a Facebook Rate Card, dated February.  When Thomas called Facebook about it, the spokesperson first denied that the company had a rate card, and then said something along lines of “That? That’s that’s just a card listing our basic advertising rates.”  Etc.


Anyway, as Thomas points out, rate cards are just starting points for negotiations, so revenue numbers that can be imputed using the card are largely meaningless.  What is more meaningful are the detailed description of the various sponsorship products Facebook is selling–including 1) sponsored home-page stories (your message is the news), and 2) Facebook group sponsorships. 

The former product was only available to those willing to spend $50,000.  The latter was priced at $150,000 for three months–and Thomas counted 150 of these groups on the site.  So even with a healthy discount off the not-rate-card, we’re talking major dollars from integrated sponsorships alone.  (Between the two, almost certainly $100 million-plus annually). 

Add that to the estimated $200 million three-year deal with Microsoft to sell banner ads, and the consensus Facebook revenue number of $150 million that director Peter Thiel tossed out to The Deal two weeks ago looks perfectly reasonable.  As does Thiel’s asking price for the company of $7-$10 billion.

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