More doom for Facebook shareholders

Facebook shareholders are paying the price for not listening to TechEye and instead wasting a fortune on the Facebook IPO.

We warned that the price of shares would drop dramatically after the IPO and would fall again after people started to do something sensible such as look at the books.

Now it appears that the Wall Street Journal has done just that and discovered much to its horror that Facebook’s growth appears to be slowing, particularly in the US.

Unique US visitors to the wildly popular social media site rose five per cent in April to 158 million, according to data attributed to comScore.

But that is the slowest growth rate since comScore started tracking Facebook data in 2008.

True users spent more than six hours a month on the site in April, up 16 percent from the prior year. But that is a slower growth rate than the 23 percent increase in 2011.

That means that Facebook’s usage is starting to slow down as it starts to peak. It also means that it will be strapped to get increased profits from new users.

Facebook could fix the problem by increasing its advertising profits and thus maximise the cash it makes from its existing users, but this takes time and so far there has been no plan announced for this.

Curiously analysts hold positive long-term ratings. They point to the fact that the company has been rolling out new offerings for mobile users, including apps for taking photos, messaging and for managing business brand pages.

But it is expected to receive another kicking from comScore. The analysis outfit is expected to publish a report measuring the effectiveness of advertising on Facebook.

So far Facebook has been losing big advertisers who are yet to see much of a return on their dollars. It would be hard to see how the comScore report could be positive.

For what it is worth, we think that when Facebook fails to increase its profits significantly, its shares will take another dip.  Either way, those who did not invest in the IPO will be better off, and those who did, would have been better off sticking their cash on a horse.