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Monday, May 21, 2012

Friends don't let friends buy Facebook

Despite an up-market for NASDAQ today, Facebook fell below its IPO price. Why am I not surprised? Roger Cheng of CNET explains it very well, and I think he is 100% right.

I didn't buy Facebook stock, and I hope that you didn't. If you're about to, I suggest that you wait for it to go lower.

Someone said to me in jest (I hope), "What difference does profit make? Look at how many users they have." Let's all find our .com T-shirts from 1999-2000 and wear them in a display of Irrational Exuberance! Profit does matter.

Google had a plan all along for how to monetize their user base and their transaction flow. They have relentlessly and crisply executed that plan. Facebook has a desire to do likewise and a scenario for getting there, but I don't know that their scenario can be justifiably called a plan.

I'm not saying that Facebook will never be worth $35 a share or more. Perhaps it will. But such a valuation now assumes that many things go in Facebook's favor over the coming years... so many things that buying the stock is speculation, not investing. Don't put any money into Facebook that you wouldn't be willing to blow in Las Vegas.

Remember, when you buy a share of Facebook, you're buying it from someone who has made a conscious decision to sell it. There are occasions when stock transactions are not a zero-sum game, but this is not one.

By the way, I did come up with the title of this post on my own, but then I discovered that other people had beaten me to it. Ironically, I used Google for that search -- and found the phrase in Facebook. This one search created a microcent of revenue for Google but zero revenue for Facebook. Think about that.