©IDG Communications, Inc. Photo contributed by Matthew Mikaelian.
Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare bring the heat
Think back five years. If they had made a feature film then about a hot social networking site, it would have been MySpace. Instead, it’s the founding story of Facebook that’s dramatized—some say made up—in David Fincher’s The Social Network. The movie’s success—it led the box office with $23 million on its opening weekend and is expected by many to earn Academy Award nominations—is emblematic of how ubiquitous Facebook has become in popular culture. What’s more, the company has quietly become an advertising juggernaut, on track to pull in $1.6 billion in ad revenue this year, per estimates by Cowen and Co. That figure is expected to hit $3 billion in 2011, which would make Facebook one of the Web’s biggest ad sellers. And it’s done it without plastering its pages with flashy, intrusive ads, a mistake MySpace made that helped usher its own slow-motion decline. If Facebook can navigate the thorny privacy issues that have bedeviled it at times, it has a shot at becoming a digital media force on par with Google.
• 500 million registered users globally
• 148 million U.S. visitors, up 60 percent from a year earlier
• 34 visits per visitor per month
Last year’s rank: 1