Facebook board members Jim Breyer and Peter Thiel seem to feel free to make up revenue figures for the social network — even though they differ by $50 million — and they just hired a CFO, Gideon Yu, who doesn't seem like he'd be averse to doing the same. So I figured, why shouldn't I join in the fun? Forthwith, Facebook's estimated 2007 revenues, by the thoroughly imaginary numbers.
- Microsoft's revenue guarantee has been estimated at $50 million to $75 million for this year. I'll generously peg it at $75 million.
- Sarah Lacy paid Facebook a buck to give me a can of whoop-ass. If the supposedly mature (and smolderingly hot) former BusinessWeek reporter is doing it, so are other users. And since the goods are virtual, the profit margins must be insane. Call it $20 million.
- Marketers are eager to survey Facebook's young demographic. Whether the users are as eager to respond? Doesn't matter. Facebook will soak big companies for some money to run the polls anyway. Call it $4 million.
- Okay, okay. I'm sure Facebook actually manages to sell some advertisements that work. I hear the sponsored newsfeed ads actually have decent click-through rates. And I'm sure they'll continue to do so until users figure out that they're ads, too, and start ignoring them like the banner ads. In other words, for a month or so. I'll grant Facebook a token $1 million for this line of business.
- And then there's Peter Thiel, who seems to think Facebook will do $150 million in revenues this year. Fellow board member Jim Breyer says it's $100 million. Who's right? Who knows. But I'm going to chalk up $50 million of Facebook's supposed revenues to Thiel's belief in the power of positive thinking.
And the real numbers? I'll believe them when I read them in the S-1 filing.