Facebook Faces Public Skepticism, Ad Dropouts As IPO Nears
According to the Washington Post, Facebook filed paperwork establishing a minimum price at $34 per share to as much as $38 per share, up from its initial $29-$34 range. The increased price of shares could push Facebook's value to over $100 billion, meeting analyst speculations.
The Associated Press reports Facebook will offer 337 million shares in its IPO but everyday investors and users are unlikely to see a slice of the action. Those with company connections and large accounts with big banks are expected to take a majority of the shares.
Despite the anticipation, a poll by the AP-CNBC found that users continue to distrust the social media juggernaut. Results showed 59 percent of respondents said they had little to no trust in Facebook to keep their information private, even as the company's number of users steadily increase. In response to continual concerns over privacy, Facebook disclosed information last week on how it collects and uses data from its users.
An additional concern for the company once it goes public is its advertising network. The same poll found 57 percent of users revealed that they never click on ads or Facebook's sponsored content. The Washington Post said overcoming this hurdle is imperative for the company to deliver steady revenue for investors.
General Motors, who spends $40 million annually on Facebook marketing, expressed similar concerns and announced it plans to stop advertising on the site. Around $10 million is allotted to paid advertisements, the rest used to maintain the company and its brands' Facebook pages.
A statement from GM said:
“We regularly review our overall media spend and make adjustments as needed. This happens as a regular course of business and it’s not unusual for us to move our spending around various media outlets – especially with the growth of multiple social and digital media outlets.
“In terms of Facebook specifically, while we currently do not plan to continue with advertising, we remain committed to an aggressive content strategy through all of our products and brands, as it continues to be a very effective tool for engaging with our customers.”
The San Francisco Chronicle said the GM ad pullout could be a sign of worse things to come for the company. Even as Facebook unleashed new ad products to include in news feeds, GM still yanked ads. If more companies follow suit, Facebook could face a serious decline in revenue.
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