Facebook raked in $2 billion in 2010: report

Facebook is reportedly a cash cow. So much for the supposed inability of the social network to turn a substantial profit.

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    Facebook reportedly earned $2 billion in ad sales in 2010. At left, the new headquarters of Facebook in Palo Alto, California.
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Facebook – a site long considered to be tricky to effectively monetize – raked in approximately $2 billion in ad sales in 2010, according to the team at Bloomberg News. Quoting several anonymous sources, Bloomberg reports that the 500 million Facebook users have proved an especially alluring target for a range of corporate giants, including Coca-Cola Co., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Adidas AG.

From the Bloomberg report:

Sales will more than double from 2009, said the people, who declined to be identified because the privately held company doesn’t disclose revenue. Facebook had $700 million to $800 million in sales last year, and the 2010 figure was previously expected to be closer to $1.5 billion, according to two other people familiar with the matter earlier this year.

Facebook has been everywhere this year – on the big screen, in the form of "The Social Network"; on bookshelves, in the form of "The Accidental Billionaires"; on the front of Time magazine, which recently named Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg the person of the year. No surprise there: Zuckerberg has presided over the astounding growth of the most popular social network in history.

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As Ben Mezrich, the author of "The Accidental Billionaires" – the basis for "The Social Network" – told the Monitor this summer, Facebook is "such a huge part of our lives, it's such a quickly growing company, that any critique falls flat. Unless [the Facebook staff] does something really phenomenally stupid, and I can't see for the life of me what that would be, a certain age group is going to keep using the site. That's the brilliance of Facebook."

Over at AdAge, David Pakman predicts that Facebook will generate increasing amounts of cash in coming years. "Today, we understand that Facebook generates about $2 to $3 per user per year in revenues," Pakman writes. "Google, however, generates about $25 per user per year (more than $25 billion in revenue from about 1 billion users). The gap is considerable, but Facebook is just getting started with their monetization efforts." (Read more here.)

Meanwhile, Facebook continues to upgrade its interface. Last week, the social network unveiled a redesign of its profile pages – one that shrinks down biographical information and favors photographs and multimedia over text. Now Facebook users can opt to display the bulk of their information – from organizations to photo albums – in a linear visual format which Facebook reps say should make it easier for you to "tell your story."

RELATED: The Social Network: Four things the movie got wrong

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