Facebook – the Complete Biography

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Facebook is the second largest social network on the web, behind only MySpace in terms of traffic. Primarily focused on high school to college students, Facebook has been gaining market share, and more significantly a supportive user base. Since their launch in February 2004, they’ve been able to obtain over 8 million users in the U.S. alone and expand worldwide to 7 other English-speaking countries, with more to follow. A growing phenomenon, let’s discover Facebook.
Facebook’s shares have already gone up significantly since the company’s early days. According to filings with the California Department of Corporations, Facebook’s common shares were priced at 78 cents in January of 2006. By May of that year, they had jumped to $8.05. In August of this year, they were $6.61. Incorporation filings in Delaware show that Facebook split its shares 4-to-1 in July of 2006 so on a split-adjusted basis the shares were priced at 19.5 cents in January 2006. That means Facebook’s sense of its own worth has risen by more than 33-fold in less than two years. Facebook hasn’t filed the price of its common shares following the Microsoft investment. But on October 18, if filed with the State of Delaware to split its stock four for one again.

History

Facebook is a social networking website that allows people to communicate with their friends and exchange information. Launched on February 4, 2004, Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg, a former member of the Harvard Class of 2006 and former Ardsley High School student. Within months, Facebook and its core idea spread across the dorm rooms of Harvard where it was very well received. Soon enough, it was extended to Stanford and Yale where, like Harvard, it was widely endorsed. Before he knew it, Mark Zuckerberg was joined by two other fellow Harvard-students – Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes – to help him grow the site to the next level. Only months later when it was officially a national student network phenomenon, Zuckerberg and Moskovitz dropped out of Harvard to pursue their dreams and run Facebook full time. In August 2005, the Facebook was officially called Facebook and the domain facebook.com was purchased for a reported $200,000.

Availability

Unlike its competitors MySpace, Friendster, Xanga, hi5, Bebo, and others, Facebook isn’t available to everyone — which explains its relatively low user count. Currently, users must be members of one of the 30,000+ recognized schools, colleges, universities, organizations, and companies within the U.S, Canada, and other English-speaking nations. This generally involves having a valid e-mail ID with the associated institution.

Business & Funding

Given the situation other social networks on the web are facing, Facebook is in a good position financially. While it hasn’t managed to get acquired like its rival MySpace (despite some rumors about an $800m deal with Viacom), it’s been quite lucky in most aspects. For its initial funding, it received $500,000 from Peter Theil, co-founder of PayPal. A few months later, it was also able to get $13 million from Accel Partners, who are also investors in 15 other Web 2.0 startups, and $25 million from Greylock Partners, making their overall venture equal to approximately $40 million.

The Future

Facebook is a massively successful social networking service that grew to prominence in virtually no time. It’s not hard to see why: its features and tools are highly appealing, and Facebook users are extremely well networked in real life. Rumors of an acquisition continue to circulate, with some estimates putting the price in the billions of dollars. In the short term, however, Facebook plans to go it alone, continuing to build out one of the world’s most successful social networks.

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