On June 18 2010, Reuters reported that Facebook’s financial performance is “stronger than previously believed”, with 2009 revenue rising to as much as $800 million, according to two sources familiar with the situation. The company also earned a net profit “in the tens of millions of dollars last year”, one of the sources said. After 6 years, Facebook now ranks as the world’s largest Web social network with nearly half a billion users, and it increasingly challenges more established Internet players such as Yahoo Inc and Google Inc for consumers’ online time and for ad dollars.
Last July, Facebook board member Marc Andreessen told Reuters the company was on track to surpass $500 million in annual revenue for 2009. Estimates in various media reports had previously pegged the company’s 2009 revenue at $550 million to $700 million, but the two sources said revenue in 2009 was in fact $700 million to $800 million, and one source added that 2009 revenue was more than double the previous year’s total.
Facebook’s revenue growth has come as the number of users on its website has exploded. The company started 2009 with the January announcement that it had reached 150 million users. By December, that number had swelled to 350 million.
As user numbers have swelled, so have advertisers: Facebook Chief Executive Zuckerberg cited statements by other Facebook executives that the number of advertisers on Facebook had increased by a factor of four during the past year-and-a-half. “We can provide really good, relevant advertising to people because they tell us exactly what they are interested in, and who they know, and those people tell us what they’re interested in,” Zuckerberg said at the All Things Digital conference in June.