A Forensic Valuation Of Social Media Company That Actually Has A Business Model, From The Top 1%

Reggie Middleton's picture

Two weeks ago, I continued my irradiation of common sense, math over magic/mysticism and simple truth drawing attention to the single fact that ALL of Wall Street seems to have over looked. That fact was that the most hyped IPO in the history of the world, the company that is not only a household name but also that halved the investment of those invested in the IPO, and whose share price is now increasing rapidly - is actually shrinking in terms of its user base, reference The Truth About Facebook That No Media Outlet Or Analyst Has Bothered To Notice. In addition, this company is still attempting to flesh out its business model. While it is a multi-billion dollar company (in terms of revenues), it is burning cash like a furnace in an attempt to outgrow its competition - all the while reinvesting profits and compressing margins. This behavior has been excused as it was(is) marketed as a high growth social media play.

Contrast that scenario with LinkedIn, another hi-growth social media play. I actually use social media, albeit not much for personal endeavors but for marketing and advertising. LinkedIn, where I've been a member for years, has always had a rather cumbersome, lackadaisical interface. A recent revamp and overhaul of the site has pumped new life, new vitality, and new revenue growth into this concern. It now boasts over 200 million members. My attention was recently drawn to LinkedIn after I got this notice in the mail...

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 While this 200 million may not look like much compared to Facebook's billion, LinkedIn's user base is growing rapidly at the same time that it's revenue per user is expanding as well while Facebook's base has already started shrinking. Despite this, Facebook is still being marketed as a high growth play in a hot tech space - social media.

Uh huh! Facebook is MOVING BACKWARDS! IT'S LOSING USERS! LOOK OUT BELOW!!!

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A high growth company whose userbase is already shrinking leads one to believe that the easy money has already been made...

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LinkedIn, on the other hand, is still handily outperforming on both user growth...

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 and revenue growth as well as margin expansion... The company has also successfully diversified revenues... 

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The reason for LinkedIn's apparent success in terms of business modeling is management's fruitful reinvestment into the website's social structure. Each member's profle now serves as a media rich resume or CV, or in terms of corporate pages and entrepenuers, a potentially immersive marketing platform. Most importantly, the vast community of members serves to verify the validity of assertions, awards and recommendations and endorsements - lending an air of credibility that competitive sites such as Monster.com could not come close to replicating.

Below, you can find exerpts from my profile (click here to see the live profile) where you can find video interviews, educational walkthroughs, endorsements and recommendations...

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The company has also addressed the issue of stickiness on the site by giving a handful of respected and well followed personalities a publishing platfrom from which they can espouse their ideas. This "macroblog" idea has garnered a huge following from a sufficiently broad audience, enough of a following that this is now a force in the media space to be reckoned with. It is something that Facebook should have thought of first.

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LinkedIn's considerably more concrete business model in addition to their reliable and clear paths to growth have not been lost on the market - particularly in comparison to Facebook...

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Subscribers are asked to download our LinkedIn Valuation sheet here - File Icon LinkedIn valuation overview 2-2013. Later on this week, professional and institutional subscribers will be able to access the entire LinkedIn valuation model on the web. Stay tuned, and in the meantime, please follow me...

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